The updated WADA prohibited list for 2016 has come into effect in the new year with a number of small changes to the 2015 version. Substances such as Meldonium have been added while Tramadol remains on the monitored list despite calls for it to be banned.
WADA published a small two-page summary alongside the full nine-page list of banned substances. Heart attack drug Meldonium was moved from the monitored list to become a prohibited substance as there was “evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance”. Meldonium, which is not currently approved for use in the US, can be used a metabolic enhancer to increase endurance.
Also added to the list was hormone drug Leuprorelin and insulin-mimetics, which is used to treat diabetes. Substances that were clarified as ‘permitted’ were blood pressure medication Clonidine and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, which can be used as a diuretic.
There have been many calls for the painkiller Tramadol to be added to the banned list but it continues to stay on the monitored list – where it has been since 2012 – alongside the likes of caffeine and nicotine. In November, Cycling Anti-Doping Commission (CADF) director Francesca Rossi claimed that there would be some 675 positive tests if Tramadol was added to the list.
Tramadol is used as a painkiller but it is also an opioid and has side effects including dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea. It has also been blamed by some for crashes within the peloton. Some teams and their doctors have already banned its use by any of their iders and it is also banned under the guidelines of voluntary organisation MPCC (Movement For Credible Cycling).
In October 2013, Cannondale-Garmin doctor Prentice Seffen spoke to Cyclingnews about the abuse of Tramadol in the peloton. “I know it’s a problem,” he said of the drug. “It’s not a big performance enhancer but it could make the difference of a fraction of a per cent. It’s like nothing compared to EPO or blood doping but it’s more on the side of cortico-steroids. If blood doping is a ten then it’s a two, maybe.”
In November, Cyclingnews held a Twitter poll asking our readers their opinion on Tramadol, and a massive 74 per cent said that it should be put onto the banned list.