Saturday, October 31, 2009

When's a banned drug a bad drug?

With the last race done, its time to get off the race bike and just relax. Well, with a 2 month old baby, relaxing is not high up on the todo list. Plus work is getting busy again, cycling of any type is on the back burner. To top it all off, I've got a sinus infection (again).

Normally it would not bother me too much, but this one is bad enough to effect my sleeping, as its contracting the bronchial tubes a bit. Actually, it was a bit freaky as I was drifting off to sleep I could feel my breathing getting shallower and shallower until it just about stopped! Then I'd wake up with a jolt. This was enough to meet up my my doc who prescribed by xyzal (yeah!) for the Sinus problems and also Prendnisolone, a corticosteroid which is normally given to asthmatics. A quick check on wikipedia, it turns out its on the WADA banned list of drugs.

After some research, it turns out WADA have banned it because "When administered systemically (into the blood), glucocorticosteroids can produce a feeling of euphoria, potentially giving athletes an unfair advantage,'' their Web site says. There's a long list of possible side effects such as a loss of blood supply to the hip bone, which might necessitate a hip replacement, diabetes, obesity and a risk of infection.

It also turns out Barry Bonds was a big fan of its cousin prednisone, which it happens is not banned my major league baseball (nor is Prendnisolone). He claimed it was used to reduce swelling in his legs and in most professional US sports it used for recovery. So instead of it being used as a performance enhancer, they (people who use it a lot) claim its a performance enabler.

So, when does a drug become a performance enhancer? To be honest its a moot debate as its on the WADA list, and thats it, but at what point is it ok to take drugs to ease pain inflicted by the sport (as opposed to some ailment)?

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