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Health Tips / Changes to the Prohibited List 2020

World Anti-Doping Agency announces changes to its Prohibited List for 2020


The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has issued a new Prohibited List of Substances and Methods which will come into effect from 1 January 2020. The WADA List Expert Group reviews the List annually and considers submissions from stakeholders, advancements in science and medical research, information on doping practices etc. A substance or method is added to the List if it meets two of three criteria: it has performance-enhancing potential, poses a danger to athletes’ health or its use is against the spirit of sport.


Changes of note to prescribers include:


S4 Hormone and Metabolic Modulators: Bazedoxifene and ospemifene which are marketed internationally in medicinal products were added as additional examples of selective estrogen receptor modulators.


S6 Stimulants: It is clarified that administration of imidazole derivatives is not prohibited when used by dermatological, nasal and ophthalmological routes.


M2 Chemical and Physical Manipulation: The wording was changed to clarify that the context of protease prohibition refers only to the Tampering of samples.  Topical and systemic use of proteases are not prohibited.


S7 Narcotics: For clarity it was stated that all optical isomers are prohibited.  This clarifies the prohibited status of optical isomers such as levomethadone which is available in some countries.


While not directly a prescribing issue, prescribers may be queried on the status of now widely available Cannabidiol (CBD).  Pure CBD is not prohibited. However, athletes should be aware that CBD products extracted from cannabis plants may also contain r9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids that may result in a positive test. Please see Sport Ireland's advisory note concerning CBD products


Prescribers working with athletes should also have a clear understanding of the issues surrounding consumption of nutritional and dietary supplements. Supplement producers conform to different manufacturing standards than those involved in the production of pharmaceutical products.  Supplements can pose risks to athletes due to contamination which may be accidental or deliberate. Evidence suggests that 10-25% of widely available supplements on the UK, European and USA markets are contaminated (Russell et al, 2013). Please see Sport Ireland’s Supplement Risk Minimisation Guidelines


Dr Una May, Sport Ireland’s Director of Participation and Ethics stated “Athletes look to Athlete Support Personnel to provide advice in relation to treatment of their illnesses and injuries. MIMS is an essential element of Sport Ireland’s Anti-Doping Education programme. It is an important resource for Athletes and Athlete Support Personnel and ensures that athletes are provided with correct information in relation to the use of medications regarding WADA’s Prohibited List.”

The updates to the 2020 List will be reflected in the Sport Ireland Athlete’s wallet cards, MIMS Ireland, the Drugs in Sport Database and the Medication Checker App which allows users to access the live Eirpharm Drugs in Sport Database. More information is available from Sport Ireland at (01) 8608818, website:, www. and National Governing Bodies of Sport.


Reference: 1. Russell C, Hall D, Brown P. European Supplement Contamination Survey 2013. HFL Sports Science.



December 2019

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Last update: 20/12/2019 14:30 • Previous update: 16/12/2018 23:01