Commonly-Abused Performance Enhancing Drugs

1. Anabolic Agents

 icon-ban Prohibited at all times (both in- and out-of-competition) –  Anabolic agents (e.g. steroids) are synthetically produced substances which mimic the effects of testosterone (a hormone naturally derived in the body). Anabolic steroids increase protein synthesis, enhance muscle and bone growth. They also have androgenic effects, including the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics such as the growth of the vocal cords and body hair.

 icon-exclamation-circle  Side Effects: Steroids can impose serious side effects on a person’s health. Most of these side effects are dose-dependent. In general, steroids increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and high blood pressure. Common psychological/behavioral changes include mood swings, aggression, mania, depression, and dependence. Using steroids may result in acne and permanent baldness. For male users, it also leads to breast tissue development, shrinking of testicles and decrease in sperm production. In females, steroids can cause the growth of facial hair, deepening of the voice and abnormal menstrual cycles. In children, administration of steroids can cause stunting of growth and pre-mature puberty.

2. Stimulants

 icon-ban Prohibited in-competition only –  Stimulants (e.g. amphetamine and cocaine) are substances that act on the central nervous system. Stimulants can increase alertness, reduce tiredness, increase competitiveness and aggression in athletes.

 icon-exclamation-circle  Side Effects: The use of stimulants can lead to dehydration, anxiety, insomnia and increased heart rate. It also affects the coordination and balance. Prolonged use may increase the risk of cardiovascular problems and stroke.

3. Erythropoietin

 icon-ban Prohibited at all times (both in- and out-of-competition) –  Erythropoietin (EPO) is a peptide hormone produced by the body that stimulates the production of red blood cells. EPO can stimulate the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells in order to increase the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. The use of EPO can increase exercise endurance and reduce recovery time.

 icon-exclamation-circle  Side Effects: EPO makes the blood more viscous and causes blood pressure to rise. It will increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism, which may result in death.

4. Cannabinoids

 icon-ban Prohibited in-competition only –  Cannabinoids are substances that can be found in the dried flowers, leaves or resin of the Cannabis plant. The use of cannabis causes the body to feel euphoria and relaxation.

 icon-exclamation-circle Side Effects: The use of cannabis affects the brain which causes mood swings, feelings of anxiety or paranoia. It also reduces memory and ability to concentrate. Other effects on the body include impaired balance and co-ordination, drowsiness and dryness of mouth. Long term risks of cannabis use may include weakened immune system, increased risk of lung, mouth, tongue, and throat cancer.