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January 19th, 2010
Drugs to Avoid if you are an Olympic Athlete

With the winter Olympics fast approaching and anti-drug regulations being strengthened to prevent illegal doping, Olympic athletes must be extra careful of what they put in their body. There are many banned substances and prescription drugs that all athletes should avoid.

If you do require a prescription before an event, it is important to remind your doctor that you are an athlete and are subject to all anti-doping regulations. Doctors should ensure that the medication prescribed is free of all banned substances. For more information about these substances, consult the National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO). If you are planning on taking a medication that does not require a prescription (“over-the-counter”) it is also highly recommended that you consult NADO or show the prohibited list to a pharmacist.

If you do take medication before an Olympic event or drug testing, the amount of time it may take to get rid of the substance from your body depends on the nature of the substance, the quantity, the individual’s metabolism, the administration method, ingredients, and other factors. There is no set rule as to how long these substance will last as it can vary from a few hours to several months.

It is also important to remember that prohibited substances can come in many unexpected forms other than prescription drugs. They can also enter your body in different ways including, contact with your skin (creams and ointments), inhalation (if you breathe in vapour or mist), contact with mucus membrane (eye or ear drops, suppository, etc…). Any product with medicinal ingredients that act to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, kill bacteria, or other intentions, will be present in your blood before being eliminated by your kidneys and turned into urine.

If you receive a positive result from ingesting medication without being aware of its prohibited substance you will still be held accountable. As an athlete, you are completely responsible for everything that goes into your body. Due to the serious problems with illegal drug use in athletics and the Olympics, if an athlete tests positive, the result will always be disqualification and possible sanction or suspension.

In addition, extreme caution must always been used if a dietary or nutritional supplement is being used. In many countries, the manufacturing and labelling of supplements do not necessarily follow strict rules. This can lead to a supplement containing an undeclared substance that is prohibited by anti-doping regulations. There have been a number of tests that have had positive results due to the misuse of supplements.

Lists of prohibited prescription drugs and medications can be found at regulated anti-doping websites such as the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES). Banned substances can include common cough and cold medications including Dayquil, Sudafed Cold & Flu, Tylenol Decongestant and others. Substances prohibited at all times (in and out of competition) include Anabolic Agents, peptide hormones, stimulents (can include caffeine), narcotics and cannabinoids.

If you need to take medication that contains a prohibited substance, any athlete has the right to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). Contact NADO or your International Federation to be accepted for a TUE.

For more information about Olympic prohibited drugs and other medication information, visit www.orderonlinedrugs.com

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