What Performance Enhancing Drugs Have Been or Are Banned in the Olympics?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

[Editor's Note:The International Olympic Committee and the US Olympic Committee are among 660 sports organizations worldwide (as of Aug. 1, 2016) that have adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) "Code" banning the performance enhancing substances and methods listed in the 2016 Prohibited List. Drugs are added and removed from this list by WADA annually.]


Bonnie Berkowitz, Reporter in the Infographics Department at the Washington Post, and Tim Meko, Graphics Reporter at the Washington Post, stated the following in their June 28, 2016 article titled "Stronger. Faster. Longer. And Higher.," available at the Washington Post website:

"Hundreds of substances are named specifically on WADA's list of banned drugs, and thousands more are prohibited through phrases such as 'and related substances.' That way, the rules cover drugs that may not have been detected or even invented yet.

Most, but not all, fall into these broad categories:

Muscle-building steroids
More athletes in nearly every sport have been caught using anabolic steroids than any other type of drug. Plenty of weightlifters, swimmers and sprinters have used them to build muscle size and strength and to cut fat...

Pick-me-up stimulants
Amphetamines and similar high-powered stimulants can increase alertness, improve reaction time, boost blood flow to muscles and cause euphoria or aggressiveness. They also may improve endurance and muscle strength. However, they also raise heart rate and interfere with heat regulation; several cyclists have died using stimulants during races...

Hormones such as EPO and drugs that modulate hormones
Some doping involves giving the body more of what it has already. The most notable is the hormone erythropoietin (EPO), which prompts the body to make more oxygen-carrying, endurance-increasing red blood cells. Another is human growth hormone, which athletes may take as a tougher-to-detect alternative to steroids — although scientific studies have questioned how well it works. Insulin, breast cancer drugs and fertility drugs are on the list as well; some may build muscle and others counteract some side effects of steroids.

Drugs that hide other drugs
Diuretics, or water pills, can help wrestlers and other weight-limited athletes drop pounds fast, and they can also dilute the concentration of other drugs in the urine, possibly enough to throw off a drug test...

Calming beta blockers
These drugs lower blood pressure and heart rate and generally make people less jittery...

Asthma drugs
Asthma drugs open breathing passages, but some also may build muscle and increase fat-burning...

Recreational drugs
This category covers drugs of addiction as well as marijuana...

Anti-inflammatory steroids
They can give users a quick jolt of adrenaline and may boost endurance a bit, but performance-enhancing value is not clear and suspensions for testing positive tend to be short."

June 28, 2016 - Bonnie Berkowitz 
Tim Meko 

Gillian Mohney, MS, Digital Health Reporter for ABC News, stated the following in her Aug. 4, 2016 article titled "Common Meds Olympic Athletes Must Forgo to Avoid Testing Positive for Doping," at the ABC News website:

"The list of prohibited substances nowadays includes not just performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids and EPO — erythropoietin, which can increase the amount of red blood cells in the body — which are banned for the duration of an athlete's training. The list also includes over-the-counter medications. Pseudoephedrine, commonly found in the cold and flu medication Sudafed, is banned on the day of competition. The drug is a stimulant and can make athletes more alert for a competition.

Athletes must be careful that they don't take a medication given by a doctor to clear up a bad cold, since it's up to them to stay free of banned substances on the day of competition.

In addition to these medications, some drugs to treat disorders like asthma and ADHD are banned. Albuterol, used to treat asthma, cannot be used in conjunction with a diuretic without a medical waiver. The drug had been used by athletes to build muscle mass. Additionally, amphetamines are banned, meaning if athletes have ADHD, they may not take the stimulants usually prescribed to help people with that disorder."

Aug. 4, 2016 - Gillian Mohney, MS 

David R. Mottram, PhD, Professor of Pharmacy at Liverpool John Moores University, and Michele Verroken, MA, Founding Director of Sporting Integrity consultancy, in the chapter "Doping Control in Sport" of the 2005 book Doping in Sports, wrote:

"The IOC [International Olympic Committee] instituted its first compulsory doping controls at the Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble, France in 1968 and again at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City in the same year. At that time the list of banned substances issued in 1967 included narcotic analgesics and stimulants, which comprised sympathomimetic amines, psychomotor stimulants and miscellaneous central nervous system stimulants. Although it was suspected that androgenic anabolic steroids were being used at this time, testing methods were insufficiently developed to warrant the inclusion of anabolic steroids in the list of banned substances...

The IOC...added anabolic steroids to the list of banned substances in 1975...

Blood doping was added to the IOC list of banned substances and methods after the 1984 Olympic Games, contrary to their policy of not banning anything for which an unequivocal testing procedure was not available...

The IOC introduced the new doping class of 'Peptide Hormones and Analogues' in 1989, despite the non-existence of unequivocal tests for these agents. Currently, this class includes human growth hormone (hGH), human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) and adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), including all releasing factors for these hormones. The list also includes erythropoietin (EPO)...

In March 1993, the IOC removed codeine from the list and permitted its use for therapeutic purposes. In September 1994, the IOC allowed two further narcotic analgesics, dihydrocodeine and dextromethorphan, for therapeutic use...

In January 2004 a number of OTC medicines (bupropion, caffeine, phenylephrine, phenylpropanolamine, pipradol, pseudoephedrine, synephrine) were removed from the prohibited list. However, they were placed on a monitoring programme in order to continue to detect patterns of their misuse in sport...

Two of the main groups of anti-asthma drugs are corticosteroids and ß2 -adrenoceptor agonists. Both groups of drugs are subject to WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] doping control regulations. Indeed, the ß2 -adrenoceptor agonists are classed as both stimulants and as anabolic agents...The WADA regulations compound the problem for the athlete in that, in the case of the ß2 -adrenoceptor agonists, they are permitted subject to Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) approval, whilst certain drugs in this case (salbutamol, terbutaline, formoterol and salmeterol) are permitted for use by inhalation subject to an Abbreviated TUE...

In January 2001, the IOC, as part of its annual review of banned substances, changed the list of permitted ß2 -agonists by including formoterol as a permitted drug and by banning the previously permitted terbutaline. This led to confusion, as the change was introduced with little prior notice. Soon after, the IOC re-introduced terbutaline as a permitted drug."

2005 - David R. Mottram, PhD 
Michele Verroken, MA 

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), stated the following in a Dec. 2009 article titled "Questions & Answers on 2010 Prohibited List," posted on its website, wada-ama.org:

"In the 2010 List [of Prohibited Substances and Methods], therapeutic use of inhaled salbutamol [an asthma medication] will not be prohibited and will therefore no longer require a TUE [therapeutic use exemption]... Salbutamol will still be prohibited for urinary concentrations above 1,000 nanograms per millilitre...

Pseudoephedrine will be reintroduced to the List. Until 2003, pseudoephedrine was prohibited in sport. It has been included in WADA's Monitoring Program annually from 2004 on. (The Monitoring Program includes substances that are not prohibited in sport but are monitored by anti-doping laboratories in order to detect patterns of misuse.)...

Based on the results of the Monitoring Program, as well as scientific literature and results of controlled excretion studies conducted by WADA, pseudoephedrine will be prohibited above 150 micrograms per millilitre.

The 2010 List clarifies that supplemental oxygen (hyperoxia) is not prohibited."

[Editor's Note: See the Summary of Major Modifications (50 KB) for more details about changes made to the 2010 List.]

Dec. 2009 - World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), in its website's "FAQ" page section on testing (accessed Nov. 5, 2008), stated:

"The WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] Prohibited List identifies those prohibited substances and methods that are prohibited at all times (both in-competition and out-of-competition)...Generally, the substances and methods in the following categories - anabolic agents, hormones and related substances, beta-2 agonists, agents with anti-estrogenic activity, diuretics and other masking agents, enhancement of oxygen transfer, chemical and physical manipulation, and gene doping - are tested OOC [out-of-competition]. Over-the-counter dietary supplements may contain substances in these prohibited categories...

Generally, the IC [in-competition] testing menu includes all of the categories included in the OOC program plus stimulants, narcotics, marijuana, glucocorticosteroids and classes of prohibited substances in certain circumstances (i.e., alcohol and beta-blockers)."

Nov. 5, 2008 - US Anti-Doping Agengy (USADA) 

The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), in its "Equine Prohibited List" updated Nov. 17, 2006, applicable to the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, Beijing 2008, listed the following as prohibited substances:

"Agents, cocktails or mixtures of substances that may affect the performance of a horse; masking agents; substances with no generally accepted medical use in competition horses; substances which are usually products prescribed for use in humans or other species; agents used to hypersensitise or desensitise the limbs or body parts...

Agents which could influence performance by relieving pain, sedating, stimulating or producing/modifying other physiological or behavioural effects...

Substances that either have limited performance enhancing potential or to which horses may have been accidentally exposed, including certain dietary contaminants."

Nov. 17, 2006 - Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) 

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) listed the following substances and methods as banned in its "2010 Prohibited List International Standard," released Jan. 1, 2010:

"S1. ANABOLIC AGENTS
Anabolic agents are prohibited.

1. Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS)

a. Exogenous AAS...

b. Endogenous AAS...

2. Other Anabolic Agents, including but not limited to:

Clenbuterol, selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), zeranol, zilpaterol.

S2. HORMONES AND RELATED SUBSTANCES
The following substances and their releasing factors, are prohibited:

1. Erythropoietin (EPO)...

2. Chorionic Gonadotrophin (CG) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in males;

3. Insulins;

4. Corticotrophins;

5. Growth Hormone (GH), Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), Mechano Growth Factors (MGFs)...

6. Platelet-derived preparations (e.g. Platelet Rich Plasma, "blood spinning") administered by intramuscular route...

S3. BETA-2 AGONISTS
All beta-2 agonists (including both optical isomers where relevant) are prohibited except salbutamol (maximum 1600 micrograms over 24 hours) and salmeterol by inhalation...

S4. HORMONE ANTAGONISTS AND MODULATORS...

S5. DIURETICS AND OTHER MASKING AGENTS...

M1. ENHANCEMENT OF OXYGEN TRANSFER
The following are prohibited:

1. Blood doping, including the use of autologous, homologous or heterologous blood or red blood cell products of any origin.

2. Artificially enhancing the uptake, transport or delivery of oxygen, including but not limited to perfluorochemicals, efaproxiral (RSR13) and modified haemoglobin products (e.g. haemoglobin-based blood substitutes, microencapsulated haemoglobin products)...

M3. GENE DOPING
The following, with the potential to enhance athletic performance, are prohibited:

1. The transfer of cells or genetic elements (e.g. DNA, RNA);

2. The use of pharmacological or biological agents that alter gene expression...

S6. STIMULANTS
All stimulants (including both optical isomers where relevant) are prohibited, except imidazole derivatives for topical use and those stimulants included in the 2010 Monitoring Program...

S7. NARCOTICS
The following narcotics are prohibited:

Buprenorphine, dextromoramide, diamorphine (heroin), fentanyl and its derivatives, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, pentazocine, pethidine.

S8. CANNABINOIDS
Natural or synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and THC-like cannabinoids (e.g. hashish, marijuana, HU-210) are prohibited."

Jan. 1, 2010 - World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 
2010 Prohibited List International Standard (90 KB)