Why glucocorticosteroids should remain in the list of prohibited substances: a sports medicine viewpoint

F. Pigozzi, A. Di Gianfrancesco, M. Zorzoli, N. Bachl, D. McDonagh, J. Cummiskey, L. Di Luigi, Yannis Pitsiladis, P. Borrione

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In addition to their therapeutic applications, glucocorticosteroids have been widely used and abused in the belief that these substances may enhance athletic performance. Analysis of athlete urine samples by antidoping laboratories around the world support this conclusion. It is commonly accepted in medical practice to use local glucocorticosteroid injections in the treatment of non-infectious local musculotendinous inflammatory conditions conveying symptom relief and often a speedier return to sporting activity. This practice is not to be considered illicit, but sports physicians must accept that such an intervention is not in itself an immediate cure and that an athlete will still require a period of recuperation before continuing sporting activity. How long such a period of recuperation should last is a matter of conjecture and there is little concrete data to support what is, or what is not, an acceptable period of inactivity. In the interest of athlete safety, we would propose to maintain systemic glucocorticosteroids on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of prohibited substances, both in and out-of-competition as well as a mandatory period of 48 hours of rest from play after receiving a local glucocorticosteroid injection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2012


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