Understand the Prohibited List

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) produces a list of substances and methods that are banned in sport. It updates this list at least annually, with the new List taking effect on 1 January each year.

The List is divided into substances and methods that are:

  1. Prohibited at all times
  2. Prohibited only in-competition (a period of time defined by each sport, but in athletics this means within 24 hours of competition).
    Those substances banned at all times would include (but are not limited to): hormones, anabolics, EPO, beta-2 agonists, masking agents and diuretics. Those substances prohibited only in-competition would include but not be limited to: stimulants, marijuana, narcotics and glucocorticosteroids. Also banned at all times: methods such as blood transfusion or manipulation, or intravenous injections in some situations.

It is important to remember that not all substances and methods are named on the Prohibited List. Even if not expressly named, a substance and method can be deemed prohibited if:

  1. It is not currently approved by any governmental regulatory health authority for human therapeutic use (e.g. drugs under pre-clinical or clinical development or discontinued, designer drugs, substances approved only for veterinary use), or
  2. It has a similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s).

A substances or method can be added to the Prohibited List if it is deemed to meet two of the following three criteria:

  1. It has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance
  2. Use of the substance or method represents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete
  3. Use of the substance or method violates the spirit of sport (as described in the introduction to the Code).

Prohibited substances and methods are classified by the following categories within the List:

  • S0. Non-approved substances
  • S1. Anabolic agents
  • S2. Peptide hormones, growth factors, related substances and mimetics
  • S3. Beta-2 agonists
  • S4. Hormone and metabolic modulators
  • S5. Diuretics and masking agents
  • S6. Stimulants (in-competition)
  • S7. Narcotics (in-competition)
  • S8. Cannabinoids (in-competition)
  • S9. Glucocorticoids (in-competition)
  • M1. Manipulation of blood and blood components
  • M2. Chemical and physical manipulation
  • M3. Gene doping

Above all, athletes are responsible for knowing what substances and methods are considered banned on the Prohibited List. Under IAAF Rules, the presence of a prohibited substance in an athlete’s sample, or the use of a prohibited substance or prohibited method, constitutes a doping offence.

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Summary of Major Modifications: 2018 Prohibited List

With the Prohibited List updated at least annually by WADA, it is important athletes learn what major changes have been made. This Summary of Major Modifications is a must read for any athlete competing today.

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