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Acute formoterol administration has no ergogenic effect in nonasthmatic athletes


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: February 2002 - Volume 34 - Issue 2 - p 213-217
CLINICAL SCIENCES: Clinically Relevant

STEWART, I. B., J. M. LABRECHE, and D. C. McKENZIE. Acute formoterol administration has no ergogenic effect in nonasthmatic athletes. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 213–217, 2002.

Purpose To determine the effect of formoterol (formoterol fumarate dihydrate) on the aerobic and anaerobic capacities of highly trained athletes.

Methods 10 male athletes (age = 26.2 ± 0.9, V̇O2max = 65.6 ± 2.4 mL·kg−1·min−1) with minimal bronchial reactivity to aerosols (i.e., negative methacholine challenge test) completed three identical exercise sessions differing only by the medication administered. Formoterol (F) a long-acting β2-agonist, presently not approved for international competition by the I.O.C. Medical committee, was compared with salbutamol (S), an accepted bronchodilator, and a placebo (P). Formoterol (12 μg), salbutamol (400 μg), or placebo was administered by a Turbuhaler, 10 min before exercise testing in a double-blind, randomized, three-way crossover design. Testing sessions included a Wingate anaerobic test followed 15 min later by an incremental cycle ergometer test to exhaustion.

Results There were no significant differences between the groups in V̇O2max (F = 66.5 ± 2.7; S = 67.8 ± 2.5; P = 67.5 ± 2.1 mL·kg−1·min−1) or Wingate peak power (F = 885 ± 40; S = 877 ± 40; P = 885 ± 44 W) values. During the maximal aerobic test, no differences were observed in maximum minute ventilation, respiratory exchange ratio, heart rate, or work between the three experimental conditions. Also, there were no differences in the Wingate anaerobic test variables, total work, or fatigue index.

Conclusion Formoterol, administered in one aerosolized therapeutic dose, does not have an ergogenic effect in elite athletes without asthma.

Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre and School of Human Kinetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z3, CANADA

Submitted for publication December 2000.

Accepted for publication May 2001.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.