world anti doping agency

World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) : New WADA guidelines for 2006 - how do they affect athletes?

At a glance:

  • WADA’s updated prohibited list contains important changes for 2006;
  • World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has also launched a new web-based monitoring system that will affect the way athletes are monitored out of competition.

The war against drug cheats in sport looks set to be a long and protracted one. As fast as sports authorities introduce testing and regulation to close down one battlefront, new ways of circumventing the regulations quickly emerge to take their place. However, as Ron Maughan’s update on contaminated supplements eloquently explains, standing on the sidelines and watching these skirmishes as an innocent bystander is no guarantee against becoming a casualty in this war. According to Andrew Hamilton, athletes who want to ensure they stay within the rules need to keep abreast of developments, and one of the best places to start is by consulting the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) newly updated guidelines and prohibited list for 2006.

If you’re an athlete engaged in competitive sport, you’ll hopefully have already received comprehensive guidance from your coach or sports governing body about which substances are and aren’t permitted. In order for this guidance to remain up to date it will need to have been put together using WADA’s prohibited list, a list of substances and methods that are banned at all times (both in and out of competition).

Because of the ever-changing situation, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) continually updates these lists, and any guidance you’re acting upon (or giving to others) should ideally be based on the latest available prohibited list, which currently is the 2006 list (released at the end of 2005). Although the bulk of the advice and prohibitions remains essentially the same as that for 2005, there are some important changes that all athletes and coaches should be aware of.

You can find the complete 2006 list and a breakdown of the changes online (www.wadaama.org), but the reality is that World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is not renowned for its use of plain English, and most non-scientists tend to find the terminology quite daunting. So for those of you already familiar with the restrictions in force last year, here is a brief summary of the most significant changes for 2006.

Web-based anti-doping management system

Another development for 2006 is the Anti-Doping Administration & Management System (ADAMS), which is a web-based database management system designed to coordinate anti-doping activities worldwide under the World Anti-Doping Code. According to WADA’s director general David Howman, ‘the ADAMS will simplify the process for everyone, and help World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) become more efficient at catching the cheaters and levelling the playing field for clean athletes around the globe.’

The idea of ADAMS is that all the parties involved in anti-doping activities are now able to coordinate information within a single system; from athletes providing information on their whereabouts, to anti-doping organisations ordering tests and laboratories reporting results.

The main changes from an athlete’s perspective is that he or she will be able (and indeed be expected) to update their whereabouts by going online and updating their information from anywhere in the world, thereby increasing the scope and efficiency of the random, unscheduled out-ofcompetition testing that World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) already administers. Athletes will also be able to manage therapeutic use exemption requests online, wherever they are. Moreover, these requests can be linked with any subsequent abnormal test results.

ADAMS first went online in mid-2005 for an initial pilot phase, but the aim is to bring a total of 85 anti-doping organisations and all anti-doping laboratories online in 2006.

Substances and methods banned at all times

Anabolic steroids

  • Examples of banned steroids will now be listed using the international non-proprietary name (INN) rather than the commonly used name unless the common name is better known than the INN name – then it will be added in brackets. In plain English, this means that if you want to check whether a medication or other substance is banned, find out its INN name first and look for that. Don’t just assume that because its popular name is not listed that it’s not on the banned list;
  • The list of examples of banned anabolic steroids has been expanded to include desoxymethyltestosterone (designer steroid), methasterone, prostanozol and methyl-1testosterone;
  • Tibolone, a synthetic steroid used to treat postmenopausal symptoms has also been added (women masters athletes take note!).

Hormones

  • The status of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) and luteinizing hormone (LH) has been changed so that they’re now only prohibited for male athletes. This is because researchers have found elevated levels of these hormones occurring during pregnancy and certain disease conditions in women making it very difficult to distinguish naturally elevated levels from abuse.

Beta-2 antagonists

  • The wording has been changed to stress that a test concentration of salbutamol greater than 1,000ng/L will be regarded as a test failure, even if you have already been granted a medical exemption in order to use a product containing it.

Substances and methods banned in competition

Stimulants

  • Adrenaline is now clearly named in the list of banned stimulants.
  • A number of examples of stimulants have been introduced or reintroduced for clarification. These include cropropamide, crotetamide, etamivan, heptaminol, cyclazodone, fenbutrazate, sibutramine and a number of others.

Glucocorticosteroids

Topical preparations to treat nose, eye or ear ailments no longer require therapeutic use exemption (ie medical exemption) because there’s no evidence that they can confer any doping advantage.

Monitoring programme

In 2006, a number of stimulants will now also be monitored out of competition. Some of the more common stimulants that fall into this category include adrenaline, amphetamine and its derivatives, cocaine and strychnine. The in- competition monitoring regime remains unchanged.

The bottom line for all athletes wishing to avoid falling foul of anti-doping regulations is to be proactive. It’s best to assume that any medicines or nutritional supplements you wish to use might contain banned substances. Unless you can confirm unequivocally that they don’t, the wisest strategy is to leave them out altogether, or seek alternatives.

Andrew Hamilton BSc, MRSC, trained as a chemist and is now a consultant to the fitness industry and an experienced science writer

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