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Doping Test Reveals High Concentrations of Salbutamol in a Swiss Track and Field Athlete

Schweizer, Carine MSC*; Saugy, Martial PhD*; Kamber, Matthias PhD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: September 2004 - Volume 14 - Issue 5 - p 312-315
Case Report: Original Research

Beta-2 agonists are on the list of prohibited substances in sport. Salbutamol by inhalation is permitted to treat allergic asthma, and/or exercise-induced asthma or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. If the level of salbutamol in urine exceeds 1000 ng/mL, the result is considered as a doping violation with an anabolic steroid. We report a case of a track and field athlete who tested well above this limit during a competition. He had a valid therapeutic use exemption for the use of salbutamol by inhalation and he claimed that he never used salbutamol orally. Further studies under controlled application by inhalation showed that this limit was exceeded. We propose that sanctioning bodies in sport should consider this possibility before taking into account a two-year ban for the use of an anabolic steroid.

From the * Swiss Laboratory for Analysis of Doping, Institute of Legal Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland; and the † Institute of Sport Sciences, Federal Office of Sport, Magglingen, Switzerland.

Received for publication August 2003; accepted February 2004.

Reprints: Matthias Kamber, PhD, Institute of Sport Sciences, Federal Office of Sport, CH-2532, Magglingen, Switzerland (e-mail:

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.