WADA regulations in relation to drugs used in the treatment of respiratory tract disorders
Maximum performance in aerobic events, at whatever level of competition, is only achievable if respiratory function is optimal. Participants will always be concerned about respiratory problems, be they major disease such as asthma or minor ailment such as the common cold. Their recourse to medications either to control or to alleviate symptoms of these conditions has brought many sportspersons into conflict with their national federations and Olympic committees. Thus in the XXVII Olympiad in Sydney (2000), there were 31 positive drug tests reported to the Chairman of the IOC Medical Commission by the head of the Australian Sport Drug Testing Laboratory. Of those 31, 6 were quality control samples. Of the remaining 25 positive results, 14 were for drugs used to treat asthma and 1 was for treatment of the common cold (IOC Medical Commission, 2000b). No further action was taken against the users of the anti-asthma medications because they were permitted drugs, the quantity used fell within the stipulated urine concentration and prior notification had been provided. However, the drug used to treat the common cold resulted in the loss of a gold medal for the individual concerned. It would appear from those figures that drugs used to treat respiratory problems are still of concern to both participants and those responsible for drug testing. This chapter will describe the pathophysiology of asthma, exercise-induced asthma and of coughs and colds. It will discuss the treatments of those conditions with reference to current British Thoracic Society (BTS) guidelines and to the IOC and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Regulations. It will also provide some historical background to the problems encountered by sportspersons as counsel to those who have used or might anticipate using these drugs, albeit inadvertently.