Use of Medications & Risks of Supplements
Both prescribed and over-the-counter medications should be checked against the Prohibited List. Athletes should also inform their doctors and other medical professionals of their obligations as high-performance athletes and emphasise the fact that they are subject to the rules of the World Anti-Doping Code.
We recommend using Global Drug Reference Online (Global DRO) to check all medications. Global DRO provides athletes and Athlete Support Personnel with information about the prohibited status of specific medications based on the current World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
Risks of Supplements
Extreme caution is recommended regarding supplement use. A number of positive tests have been attributed to the misuse of supplements, poor labelling or contamination of dietary supplements. There is no guarantee that any supplement is free from prohibited substances.
Risks of supplements include:
• Manufacturing standards, which are often less strict compared with medicines. These lower standards often lead to supplement contamination with an undeclared prohibited substance;
• Fake or low-quality products which may contain prohibited substances – and be harmful to health;
• Mislabelling of supplements with ingredients wrongly listed and prohibited substances not identified on the product label;
• False claims that a particular supplement is endorsed by ADOs or that it is “safe for athletes”. Remember, ADOs do not certify supplements and product labels may contain misleading messaging.
All athletes should do a risk-benefit assessment if they are considering the use of supplements. The first step of such an assessment is to consider whether a “food-first” approach meets the athlete’s needs. Whenever possible, such an assessment should be done with the support of a certified nutritionist or other qualified professional who is familiar with the anti-doping rules.
If, after careful consideration, an athlete chooses to use supplements, they must take the necessary steps to minimise the risks. This includes:
• Thorough research on the type and dose of the supplement, preferably with the advice of a certified nutritionist or other qualified professional who is familiar with the global and any sport-specific anti-doping rules.
• Selecting only those supplements that have been batch-tested by an independent company. Companies that batch-test supplements include Informed Sport, Certified for Sport or Kölner Liste.
Remember, no supplement is 100% risk-free but athletes and Athlete Support Personnel can take certain steps to minimise these risks.
For more information, please refer to the WADA Q&A on nutritional supplements.