Last updated on: 10/22/2008 | Author:

What Are Performance Enhancing Drugs?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

MSN Encarta Online Encyclopedia wrote an article titled “Performance-Enhancing Drugs,” posted on its website (accessed Oct. 20, 2008), which stated:

“Performance-Enhancing Drugs [are] various substances, chemical agents, or procedures designed to provide an advantage in athletic performance. Performance-enhancing drugs affect the body in different ways, such as enlarging muscles or increasing the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity. Despite these apparent benefits, the use of such drugs is considered both competitively unethical and medically dangerous. Most performance-enhancing drugs are outlawed by organizations that govern major amateur and professional sports.”

Oct. 20, 2008 - MSN Encarta Online Encyclopedia

Steve Olivier, Professor of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Abertay Dundee, wrote in his article titled “Drugs in Sports: Justifying Paternalism on the Grounds of Harm,” published in the Nov./Dec. 1996 issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine:

“What exactly are we referring to when we talk about performance enhancing substances? Very generally, we can initially group them as follows:

  1. Stimulants (amphetamines, caffeine, cocaine, other sympathomimetic drugs).
  2. Anabolic-androgenic steroids (synthetic derivatives of the male sex hormone testosterone).
  3. Human growth hormone.
  4. Erythropoietin.”
Nov./Dec. 1996 - Steve Olivier

The American Academy of Pediatrics wrote in its policy statement titled “Use of Performance-Enhancing Substances,” published Apr. 4, 2005 in the journal Pediatrics:

“A performance-enhancing substance is any substance taken in nonpharmacologic doses specifically for the purposes of improving sports performance. A substance should be considered performance enhancing if it benefits sports performance by increasing strength, power, speed, or endurance (ergogenic) or by altering body weight or body composition. Furthermore, substances that improve performance by causing changes in behavior, arousal level, and/or perception of pain should be considered performance enhancing.

Performance-enhancing substances include the following:

  • Pharmacologic agents (prescription or nonprescription) taken in doses that exceed the recommended therapeutic dose or taken when the therapeutic indication(s) are not present (eg, using decongestants for stimulant effect, using bronchodilators when exercise-induced bronchospasm is not present, increasing baseline methylphenidate hydrochloride dose for athletic competition)
  • Agents used for weight control, including stimulants, diet pills, diuretics, and laxatives, when the user is in a sport that has weight classifications or that rewards leanness
  • Agents used for weight gain, including over-the-counter products advertised as promoting increased muscle mass
  • Physiologic agents or other strategies used to enhance oxygen-carrying capacity, including erythropoietin and red blood cell transfusions (blood doping)
  • Any substance that is used for reasons other than to treat a documented disease state or deficiency
  • Any substance that is known to mask adverse effects or detectability of another performance-enhancing substance
  • Nutritional supplements taken at supraphysiologic doses or at levels greater than required to replace deficits created by a disease state, training, and/or participation in sports”
Apr. 4, 2005 - American Academy of Pediatrics