2012 WADA Prohibited Substance List Updates

The annual update to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited substance list was published on October 1st and will be effective on Jan. 1, 2012. Each year WADA updates the list in accordance with evolving scientific principals, changing social habits and increased understanding of what constitutes an ergogenic substance or process. The banned list represents the substances and methods that are prohibited in a wide range of sports, including running, cycling and triathlon. Governing bodies such as USA Triathlon (USAT) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) administer testing per WADA guidelines, and the private entity World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) also adheres to the rules. Athletes with a positive or non-analytical positive result are prohibited from competition for a variable period as determined by the rules of the governing body of each sport. The 2012 list is located here: www.wada-ama.org/Documents/World_Anti-Doping_Program/WADP-Prohibited-list/2012/WADA_Prohibited_List_2012_EN.pdf.

2012 Prohibited List Updates:

1) Asthmatics breathe easier

Asthma medication Formoterol by inhalation (maximum therapeutic dose of 36 micrograms over 24 hours) is no longer prohibited as a beta-2 agonist. This is in addition to the existing allowance of Salbutamol (maximum 1600 micrograms over 24 hours) and Salmeterol when taken by inhalation. It will be considered an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) if more than 30 ng/mL of Formoterol is detected in urine unless the athlete proves, through a controlled pharmacokinetic study, that the abnormal result was the consequence of the use of the stated therapeutic inhaled dose.

WADA’s research will continue on beta-2 agonists in order to ensure that the administration of large doses or by systemic routes of these substances is prevented and prohibited. However, the needs of asthmatic athletes will continue to be monitored and facilitated when possible.

2) Root Canal Anybody?

Local application of Felypressin in dental anesthesia has been listed as not prohibited.

3) Non-Smokers Rejoice: Nicotine Placed on Monitoring Program List

In order to detect potential patterns of abuse, nicotine has been placed on WADA’s 2012 Monitoring Program. According to WADA, “It is not WADA’s intention to target smokers, rather to monitor the effects nicotine can have on performance when taken in oral tobacco products such as snus.”

The WADA monitoring program follows several substances, now including nicotine, as well as the narcotics hydrocodone and tramadol. Out-of-competition use of glucocorticosteroids has also been included. Article 4.5 of the World Anti-Doping Code, WADA is mandated to establish a monitoring program regarding substances that are not on the List, but which the Agency wishes to monitor in order to detect patterns of misuse.

4) Bowlers can Happy Hour

At the request of the Federation Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ), alcohol is no longer included on the List as a prohibited in-competition substance for ninepin and tenpin bowling.

5) Controlled Heart Rate Not Helpful:

Beta blockers help control heart rate, and use of this class of drugs were prohibited in several sports in-competition. After a review by WADA and following discussions with stakeholders, bobsleigh and skeleton, curling, modern pentathlon, motorcycling, sailing and wrestling have also been removed from the list of sports included in the List in which beta-blockers are prohibited.

6) Non-approved Substances

The section S0 for non-approved substances has been moved under the section for Prohibited Substances so that it clarified that methods are not included. As well, the scope of this section was expanded through wording and a more extensive list of example substances. This section is retained for substances only after all other categories have been considered inadequate.

What about clenbuterol?

The presence of this ergogenic substance was the basis for Alberto Contador’s infamous positive test result due to very low levels of the substance. Clenbuterol is a prohibited substance and there is no threshold under which this substance is not prohibited. According to WADA, at present, and based on expert opinions, there is no plan to introduce a threshold level for clenbuterol.

WADA: “It is possible that under certain circumstance the presence of a low level of clenbuterol in an athlete sample can be the result of food contamination. However, each case is different and all elements need to be taken into account, along with the context of the case. Under the World Anti-Doping Code, result management of cases foresees the opportunity for an athlete to explain how a prohibited substance entered his/her body.” In other words, test positive and you too can try to blame eating meat. Apparently, WADA is working to help minimize the risk of contamination through the monitoring of meat to official hotels and restaurants at an international level, through collaborations with countries, International Federations and event organizers.

One interesting case came up in 2011: That of cyclist David Clinger who was banned for life from competition for a positive clenbuterol result from a sample collected on June 29 in an out-of-competition test. The Utah-based road racing rider was nearing the end of what had been a two-year suspension for his first doping violation, a positive result for testosterone and modafinil in a sample collected in June of 2009. Clinger allegedly admitted to using clenbuterol as a performance-enhancing drug and was issued the lifetime ban for his second doping violation. Some folks never learn.

Update to WTC’s doping policy:

Launched in Kona at the Ironman World Championship, WTC’s “I Am True” campaign
is WTC’s current effort toward athlete education and awareness of doping in sport, and its zero tolerance policy. Through this program, WTC is increasing outreach among its professional and age-group triathletes. Additionally, WTC engaged the next generation of Ironman athletes with outreach at this year's Keiki Dip-n-Dash event in Kona. Alii Drive was decorated with pint-sized athletes wearing T-shirts with the tagline “Ask Me Why I AM True?”

The goal of this publicity is to encourage athletes to ask each other, and themselves, the question “Why I AM True?”. The campaign is designed to invite everyone to be part of the ongoing work of WTC to preserve the integrity of Ironman competition and the sport of triathlon. Last year’s Ironman World Champion, Mirinda Carfrae, shared her thoughts on clean and true sport in an advertisement recently featured in LAVA Magazine, stating, “I AM TRUE because my motivation is to find and push my natural limits.”

The WTC awareness initiatives are in conjunction with WADA’s “Say No! To Doping” campaign, and are a crucial part of the Ironman governing body’s comprehensive anti-doping program launched in 2009.

WTC also participates in the WADA biological passport program, providing data for each athlete’s physiological profile as maintained in their passport. For example, taking a look at 4-time Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington’s published doping test results, one can see she has been tested 5 times so far in 2011 for passport data. (see http://www.chrissiewellington.org/drug-tests/).

The science and politics of doping and testing are always in flux and he best approach appears to be to continue rigorous testing and the search for fair and just sport. Despite some criticism by pundits, great strides have been made in keeping a level playing field. Stakeholders and governing bodies are not resting on their laurels and continue to try to keep pace with ongoing evolution of science and sport.

Jonathan Toker is the Slowtwitch.com science editor and an elite-level runner-triathlete who hails from Canada and lives in Southern California. He received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from The Scripps Research Institute in 2001. Jonathan invented the SaltStick products in 2002. www.SaltStick.com.