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Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine:
Original Research

Medication Use in Athletes Selected for Doping Control at the Sydney Olympics (2000)

Corrigan, Brian AM, FRACP, FRCP, FRCPE, FAFRM*; Kazlauskas, Rymantas PhD†

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Abstract

During the Olympic Games held in Sydney in September, 2000 Doping Control was undertaken as specified in the International Olympic Code. During this process information about the medications taken by athletes was collected as a routine and formed part of the paperwork associated with a urine test. In their Post Games Report the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recommended that the information about medications be collated with a view to assessing their use by athletes.

Mandatory doping control for winners of events as well as random selection of athletes both during competition and out of competition allowed data to be collected about medications and supplements used by athletes. At the Doping Control Stations all competitors selected for a test, after providing a urine sample for analysis, were asked the same question: “what medications have you taken in the past three days?” The answer was to include all prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, any other substances taken by mouth, injection, inhalation, ointment or by suppository, as well as vitamins, minerals, and all other supplements.

This paper reviews the data from the 2758 Declaration Forms obtained at doping control. The prevalence of use of medications, the number used by an individual, and the pattern of use by these elite sports people were examined.

The trends seen in this survey point to a dangerous overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents and an unnecessary overuse of vitamins in this population, while pointing out the increased prevalence of asthma and the dangers of drug interactions.

Objective: The main objective here is to review some of the medications used by athletes in the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000.

Data Sources: During these Games Doping Control was undertaken as specified by the International Olympic Committee. As well as a urine test, information about medications routinely taken was collected. Mandatory doping control for winners of events as well as random selection of athletes both during competition and out of competition required data to be collected about medications and supplements used by athletes as part of the sample collection protocol. At the Doping Control Stations all competitors selected for a test, after providing a urine sample for analysis, were asked the same question: “what medications have you taken in the past three days?” The answer was to include all prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, any other substances taken by mouth, injection, inhalation, ointment or by suppository, as well as vitamins, minerals, and all other supplements.

Data Selection: In this article we review the data from the laboratory copy of the 2758 Declaration Forms obtained at doping control. The cut down version of the Declaration Form submitted to the laboratory had all information identifying the athlete removed. Thus all information used in this article is completely anonymous. The prevalence of use of medications, the number used by an individual, and the pattern of use by these elite sports people were examined at the request of the IOC.

Conclusions: In their Post-Games Report, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) acting as independent observers of the anti-doping process recommended to the IOC that the information obtained in the Athlete Declaration Forms concerning medications be collated with a view to assessing their use by athletes. The trends in their use seen in this survey point to an overuse of supplements as well as a dangerous overuse of drugs such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents together with multiple drug use emphasising the dangers of drug interactions and points out the increased prevalence of asthma in this population.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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