News 30th September 2015

WADA approves 2016 Prohibited List

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has approved the 2016 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods, which will come into force on 1 January 2016. There have been a few slight modifications, however the number of categories and substances that feature remain the same as the 2015 List, as our table shows. The 2016 List also features an easier to navigate format, with each substance listed on a different line in alphabetical order. However, the number of substances that feature cannot be compared to previous years, as the list is not exhaustive, and includes the prohibition of ‘other substances with a similar chemical structure’, categories of substances (without specifically naming them), metabolites and isomers.

A WADA document explained the main changes to the List, which included adding insulin-mimetics to category S4 (Hormone and Metabolic Modulators) of substances prohibited at all times. Meldonium has also been added to the same category, as WADA has found ‘evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance’.

Meldonium, manufactured in Latvia, is used to treat angina and heart failure in Lithuania and Russia, however is not approved for use in the US. It was added to WADA’s monitoring programme when the 2015 Prohibited List was published, after studies suggested it was being used for performance enhancing effects by endurance athletes. Although the substance is not widely available, you can buy it on Amazon.

It is also noted that the 2016 List specifically mentions GW-1516, a substance developed to burn fat whilst exercising, but withdrawn from development after Glaxosmithkline found that it caused cancer in rodents. On 23 July, the Pan American Games Organisation (PASO) confirmed that Argentinean wrestler Luz Clara Vázquez had tested positive for a ‘hormonal and metabolic modulator’, thought to be GW-1516. The Belarus national anti-doping agency also sanctioned an athlete for using it this year. WADA issued a warning about the substance in 2013.

If a substance or method is found to meet two of three criteria (enhances performance, poses a threat to athlete health, violates the spirit of sport), then it could be considered for placement on the List. Under Article 4.5 of the World Anti-Doping Code, WADA is required to establish a monitoring programme of substances that are not on the List, but that WADA wishes to monitor in order to detect patterns of misuse in sport. As such, Bupropion, caffeine, nicotine, phenylephrine, phenylpropanolamine, pipradrol, synephrine, Mitragynine and tramadol are being added to the 2016 WADA Monitoring Programme, but for in-competiton use only. Telmisartan is being monitored for in-competition and out of competition use, as is glucocorticoid use.

Bupropion is an anti-depressant often used to help people give up smoking. Phenylephrine is an androgenic receptor agonist often used in decongestants, phenylpropanolamine is also used in decongestants, but is a stimulant. Pipradrol is also a stimulant, and synephrine is thought to have a cardio-vascular effect in humans. Mitragynine is an opioid often known as Kratom, and tramadol is an opioid pain medication. It was one of the substances that recently resulted in two South Sydney Rabbitohs players being admitted to intensive care. Telmisartan is used in the treatment of hypertension.

“WADA leads an extensive consultative process annually that results in the updated Prohibited List”, said WADA President Craig Reedie in a statement.  “Our Expert Group considers such sources as scientific and medical research; trends; and, intelligence gathered from law enforcement and pharmaceutical companies in order to stay ahead of those that wish to cheat. The 2016 List had a few noteworthy changes and modifications from last year.”

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