Types of Performance-Enhancing Drugs


The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was founded in 1999 to help monitor and regulate the use of performance-enhancing drugs by professional athletes and sportsmen. In 2004, WADA released a list of performance-enhancing drugs that give an unfair advantage to sportsmen and athletes who use them. Most major international sports organizations and associations have banned the use of these performance-enhancing drugs.

Performance-enhancing drugs
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Drugs that improve a person’s energy levels and alertness are called stimulants. These drugs help improve an athlete’s performance by stimulating the mental and physical functions that allow him to compete for longer periods without getting tired. Examples of stimulants include cocaine, adrafinil and pemoline.

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Narcotic analgesics (such as buprenorphine, morphine and heroin) are extremely potent painkillers that affect the nervous system. These drugs allow their users to train or compete without feeling pain from an injury. Narcotic analgesics can also help to relieve anxiety levels before a competition.

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Anabolic-androgenic steroids have the same chemical properties as testosterone (a male sex hormone). They help improve muscle mass, and help reduce the body’s recovery time. There are two types of anabolic-androgenic steroids: exogenous (the body can’t produce these naturally) and endogenous (the body can produce these naturally). Examples of exogenous and endogenous anabolic-androgenic steroids include metenolone and androstenediol (or andro) respectively.

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Different glands in the body produce peptide hormones that affect the performance of other organs. Athletes take peptide hormones (such as corticotrophins, HGH and insulin) to improve strength and boost the red-blood-cell count. A high red-blood-cell count means that the blood can carry more oxygen, which helps improve performance.

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Beta-2 agonists improve breathing by relaxing muscles in the air passages. They can have the same effects as stimulants (if inhaled) or anabolic steroids (if injected). Examples of beta-2 agonists include reproterol hydrochloride and bambuterol hydrochloride. Athletes who suffer from asthma can get permission to use inhalation-based beta-2 agonists.

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Masking agents (such as diuretics, dextran and epitestosterone) are banned because they can prevent the detection of other banned drugs in the urine. Cannabinoids (such as marijuana and hashish) do not enhance performance, but they are banned because of their detrimental affects on the image of sport. Glucocorticosteroids (such as dexamethasone and prednisone) are drugs that have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. They are banned because, when injected into the bloodstream, they can produce euphoria. Glucocorticosteroids can allow athletes to compete without feeling the pain from an injury.

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