Chemistry and sport
Although the phrase performance-enhancing drugs is often used in
reference to anabolic steroids or their precursors, world
anti-doping organizations apply the term broadly. The phrase more
broadly refers to several distinct classes of drugs:
Testing of athletes/animals for drugs of abuse in major sporting
events is routine. Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS)
and Liquid Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS) have been
used for drug testing of urine and blood samples and this
provides short-term information. In addition, the detection of
doping agents in hair by mass spectrometry is being developed,
since hair testing has the potential to provide a wider
surveillance window thus the long-term history.
- Lean mass builders are used to drive or amplify the
growth of muscle and lean body mass, and
sometimes to reduce body fat. This class of drugs includes
beta-2 agonists, selective androgen
receptor modulators (SARMs), and various human hormones, most notably human growth
hormone, as well as some of their precursors.
- Stimulants are used to
stimulate the athlete's body and mind to perform at optimal level
by increasing focus, energy and aggression. Examples include
caffeine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine.
- Painkillers mask
athletes' pain so they can continue to compete and perform beyond
their usual pain thresholds. Blood pressure is increased causing the
cells in the muscles to be better supplied with vital oxygen.
Painkillers used by athletes range from common over-the-counter medicines such as
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen) to powerful prescription narcotics.
- Sedatives are sometimes
used by athletes in sports like archery which require steady hands and accurate
aim, and by athletes attempting to overcome excessive
nervousness or discomfort. Alcohol, valium and marijuana are examples.
- Diuretics expel water
from athletes' bodies. They are often used by athletes such as
wrestlers, who need to meet weight restrictions.
Many stimulants have secondary diuretic effects.
- Masking drugs are used to prevent the detection of
other classes of drugs. These evolve as quickly as do testing
methods - which is very quickly indeed - although a time-tested
classic example is the use of epitestosterone, a drug with no
performance-enhancing effects, to restore the testosterone/epitestosterone ratio (a common
criterion in steroid testing) to normal levels after anabolic
latest Prohibited List is available from the World Anti-Doping
Agency web site (came into effect January 2014) .
According to the
WADA list for 2011 of Adverse Analytical Findings and Atypical
Findings reported by accredited laboratories there were
243,193 samples analysed of which 2885 resulted in adverse
findings, 1971 resulted in atypical findings or a total of 4856
WADA archives of Adverse Findings and Atypical Findings
The Adverse Analytical Findings (AAF) and Atypical Findings (ATF)
in this table are not to be confused with adjudicated or
sanctioned Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRV), as the figures
given in this table may contain findings that underwent the
Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) approval process or multiple
findings on the same Athlete. In addition, Atypical Findings may
correspond to multiple measurements performed on the same
Athlete, such as in the case of longitudinal studies on
Much of the information in these course notes has been sourced
from Wikipedia under the Creative Commons License. Students
taking this course will be expected to contribute to Wikipedia as
a part of their course assignments.
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Created September 2011. Links checked and/or
last modified 21st February 2014.