The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) produces a list of substances and methods that are banned in sport in the form of the Prohibited List. It is updated at least annually, with the new list taking effect on January 1 of each year.
It is important that athletes and Athlete Support Personnel are familiar with the Prohibited List and know how to check whether medications are prohibited in sport. A substance or method can be added to the Prohibited List if it meets at least two of the following three criteria:
1. It has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance.
2. Use of the substance or method represents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete.
3. Use of the substance or method violates the spirit of sport.
The Prohibited List includes substances and methods that are categorised into three groups:
1. Substances and methods prohibited at all times
2. Substances and methods prohibited in-competition
3. Substances prohibited in particular sports
According to the Code, the in-competition is the period commencing at 11:59 p.m. on the day before a Competition in which the Athlete is scheduled to participate through the end of such Competition and the Sample collection process related to such Competition. The in-competition period is very important to understand when it relates to substances that are prohibited in-competition. When a substance is prohibited in-competition, it must leave the athlete’s system by the time the said competition begins. It does not mean that the athlete must stop taking the substance only by the time the in-competition period begins. Different substances take different amounts of time to leave the system – athletes must be extremely careful to make sure that they are not caught with a positive test as a result of taking a substance prohibited in-competition. Here are a few tips and tricks to help athletes and Athlete Support Personnel navigate the Prohibited List and to be able to select medications that are safe to take within the context of sport:
• Only the medical ingredient names are listed on the Prohibited List – not brand names
• Always check dosage restrictions, route administration of the medicine and any limitations for the use of the drug based on gender
• Check both over-the-counter and prescription medications before using them
• Inform your medical professional that you are an athlete and subject to anti-doping regulations
• Different substances take different amounts of time to leave your system – take that into account when taking substances prohibited in-competition
• Be careful when substituting one brand of medication for another – they may contain different medical ingredients
• Be careful when travelling – the same brand of a medication may contain different medical ingredients abroad
• Regularly check for updates to the Prohibited List
The current Prohibited List can be found here.