How athletes circumvent ANTIDOPING

Compulsory doping control at the Olympic Games began effectively in 1968. The characterization of doping is based on the identification of a substance considered doping and / or its metabolites in biological samples (urine, blood) provided by athletes in competition or during the competition phase. training aimed at a competition [1]. In this article I intend to briefly discuss some of the techniques and methods most used by athletes to escape doping tests. The emphasis will be on drugs more popular in strength sports, such as androgenic steroids and peptides, but also on drugs used in endurance sports (such as EPO).

All known androgenic steroids can be detected in urine tests (gas mass chromatography spectrometry) for a period of time after the last dose. The detection of these drugs depends on several factors, including their chemical structure, metabolism, form in which they are administered, dosage pattern and concomitant use of other drugs [2]. Below is the detection time of the most popular drugs among bodybuilders and strength athletes [3]:

- Nandrolone decanoate (deca - durabolin) = 18 months
- nandrolone phenylpropionate = 12 months
- boldenone undecylinate, trenbolone (acetate, enanthate and parabolan), injectable dianabol = 4 to 5 months
- Testosterone-mix (Durateston, Omnadren), testosterone enanthate, testosterone cypionate = 3 months
- oxymetholone (hemogenin), fluoxymesterone (halotestin), injectable stanozolol (winstrol), drostanolone propionate (masteron) = 2 months
- oral dianabol, proviron = 5-6 weeks

- methenolone enanthate (primobolan) = 4-5 weeks
- Oxandrolone (Anavar), oral stanozolol, testosterone propionate = 3 weeks
- Oral testosterone undecanoate (Andriol) = 1 week

- suspension testosterone = 1-3 days
- Clenbuterol = 4-5 days

- ephedrine = 6- 10 days

- diuretics (furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide and triamterene) = 1-2 days

The evaluation of illegal testosterone use is based on the urinary testosterone: epitestosterone ratio, with the 6: 1 ratio (in some places 4: 1) being the upper limit of legal cut. Since testosterone is not immediately converted to epitestosterone, the exogenous use of this drug increases the ratio. Some athletes inject epitestosterone before drug testing to try to mask the exogenous use of testosterone. The counter-proof of this strategy is that concentrations of epitestosterone greater than 200 ng / mL are considered evidence of manipulation of epitestosterone. In addition, short-lived forms of testosterone (aqueous testosterone) can raise testosterone concentrations for just a few hours, after which the testosterone / epitestosterone ratio returns to baseline. Detecting the use of testosterone represents a significant challenge for doping control laboratories [2].

Reasonably, the most effective use of diuretics in doping sports would be before an anti-doping test. Diuretics increase the volume of urine and dilute any doping agents, as well as their metabolites present in the urine and make their detection more problematic by conventional anti-doping analysis. For this reason, diuretics are classified as agents in the WADA Prohibited Substances List (class S5: ‘Diuretics and other masking agents‘) masking (WADA, 2009b). Diuretics are prohibited in sport because they can be used to: (i) directly, to produce rapid weight loss, which can be crucial to satisfy a weight category in sporting events, and / or (ii) indirectly , to alter the metabolism / excretion normal profile of other doping drugs. In both cases, the administration of diuretics may be acute or chronic, with doses administered markedly that may exceed therapeutic levels. In general, athletes can use diuretics in a single dose a few hours before a competition (ie, wrestlers or sportsmen for the purpose of masking) or chronically abuse them for months (ie, gymnasts). It is important to note that the diuretics most abused by athletes (furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide and triamterene) have a short half-life and are therefore undetectable in urine if samples are not collected within 24-48 hours after the last administration [ 4].

Growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) are often used by athletes as doping agents. It is estimated that up to 25% of athletes who use anabolic androgenic steroids also take GH. The available data do not confirm the influence of GH or IGF-1 preparations on improving physical performance. GH is often abused in combination with anabolic steroids and insulin. Some of GH's anabolic actions are mediated through the generation of IGF-I, and it is believed that this is also abused. Athletes are exposing themselves to potential damage from self-administration of large doses of GH, IGF-I and insulin. Although GH is on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances, detecting abuse with GH is a challenge. IGF-I and insulin testing are in their infancy, but measuring GH action markers can also detect the use of IGF-I Blood tests to detect growth hormone abuse have been available for several years. Surprisingly, no one has been proven to use illegal doping agents to influence GH / IGF-1 axis [5].

Blood doping and EPO (erythripoetin) can improve aerobic capacity and performance in aerobic activities or sports. This is due to the increase in the blood's capacity to carry oxygen, mainly attributable to the increase in the number of erythrocytes [6]. Before 2000, there was no test to distinguish the synthetic version of EPO from its natural counterpart, so while athletes were taking doses that would maintain their hematocrit (a measure of the percentage of blood volume made up of red blood cells) in a plausible range (below 50 percent), they could use this drug with impunity. And the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report states that Lance Armstrong's pre-2000 team did just that, fueling his victory at the 1999 Tour de France. But USADA also claims that Armstrong's EPO abuse did not stop after the introduction of a urine test capable of detecting the drug in 2000, it only took a more covert form. Doctors conspired, the report says, instructing Armstrong and his teammates to inject EPO intravenously (as opposed to the subcutaneous route, or into an inner layer of skin) and at night, when surprise tests were unlikely. These measures allow low doses of synthetic EPO to be removed from a cyclist's system the moment he woke up. In situations where EPO tests on recently dosed athletes were unavoidable, the team's doctors could also have injected saline water, or salt, to dilute a pilot's blood and quickly drive the hematocrit down. This way of obfuscating saline injection was a common practice for Armstrong and his team, according to the USADA report.
Blood transfusions: strategic blood transfusions, in which an athlete re-injects stored backup units of blood for an increase in red blood cells, achieve the same effects as using synthetic EPO, avoiding signature drug test markers. Since the process involves only an athlete's own blood, it is notoriously difficult to detect [7].

The following is a summary of some methods used by athletes to circumvent the doping test [8]:

– Além da grande dificuldade dos métodos para detectar o uso de hormônio de crescimento humano , insulina, IGF, também não existem métodos de controle para os inibidores da miostatina , doping genético e terapia com células-tronco .
• existem esteroides Designer, que são estruturalmente esteroides anabolizantes manipulados, especialmente desenvolvidos por químicos para os atletas para ser indetectável pelos testes antidoping atuais (por exemplo, tetrahidrogestrinona , ou THG ) .
• Vários esteroides anabolizantes, pro-esteroides e precursores de esteroides ainda não são classificados como substâncias controladas, e são indetectáveis ​​por testes de doping atuais.
• Vários medicamentos orais , incluindo esteroides anabolizantes, não são mais do que alguns dias ou semanas rastreáveis ​​por meio de testes de doping atuais. Insulina já desaparece algumas horas após a administração.
• Epitestosterona é usado para mascarar o uso de testosterona exógena.
• Adição de determinados produtos químicos (detergente, sabão em pó) para uma amostra de sangue ou de urina pode causar um teste de doping falso negativo .
• Os medicamentos orais são tomadas de encobrimento para esconder vestígios de produtos dopantes na urina.
• As amostras de urina podem ser diluídos para fazer traços doping indetectável por beber muita água ou usar diuréticos.
• Usando pequenas quantidades de muitas drogas diferentes podem manter o nível de cada droga do indivíduo baixo o suficiente na amostra de teste para permanecer indetectável.
• Um método muito eficaz que os atletas usam durante os testes de doping é dar uma amostra de urina limpa , em vez de sua própria amostra de urina fresca. Esta urina limpa pode provir de um doador, ou pode ser preparada a partir de urina em pó, que pode ser auto -fabricada ou mesmo comprada na internet. A urina é geralmente limpa dissimulada num recipiente ou pode ser injetado na bexiga do atleta diretamente através de uma agulha ou através de um catéter através da uretra.

– A técnica mais básica para evitar testes surpresa, com base em depoimentos de alguns dos ex- companheiros de equipe de Armstrong , estava simplesmente fugindo ou se escondendo. Testes para facilitar fora de competição, os ciclistas profissionais são obrigados a informar suas agências nacionais antidoping de suas posições em todos os momentos . Atletas que recebem três advertências em um período de 18 meses para ambos não fornecer seu paradeiro precisão ou a não apresentação da informação em tudo pode ser punido como se tivesse tido um teste de drogas positivo. Dizendo que ” a adequação de surpresa , testes sem aviso prévio ocorrendo no esporte do ciclismo continua a ser uma preocupação”, Usada delineou vários métodos utilizados por Armstrong e seus companheiros de equipe para burlar o sistema . O mais simples foi fingindo não estar em casa quando os testadores chegaram.


[1] Nutrition, Metabolism and Supplementation in Physical Activity, Julio Tirapegui, 2nd edition.

[2] Williams Treaty on Endocrinology, 11th edition.


[4] The abuse of diuretics as performance-enhancing drugs and masking agents in sport doping: pharmacology, toxicology and analysis

[5] [Growth hormone and IGF-1 as doping agents in competitive sport].

Growth hormone, IGF-I and insulin and their abuse in sport

[6] Physiology of Sport and Exercise; Kenney, Wilmore, Costill, 5th edition.

[7] How Did Lance Armstrong Avoid a Positive Doping Test?

[8] Passing the Doping Tests

What are the 19 known methods of cheating to pass performance enhancing drug tests?

Report Describes How Armstrong and His Team Eluded Doping Tests

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