The New Year will usher in important changes on substances banned by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).  In particular, the new rules could cause amateur masters age riders (30+) to test positive for substances commonly used to treat various aches and pains associated with old age. 

Starting on 1 January 2022, ALL Glucocorticosteroids will be banned from use in competition if administered by injection, orally or anally. This includes injections into joints, bursa, or the epidural space, which are all routes of administration that were previously allowed. WADA has determined that these routes of administration result in a significant level of glucocorticoids circulating in the blood, which could result in performance enhancement or cause harm to health.

Glucocorticoids are a type of steroid hormone that is extremely effective at reducing inflammation, suppressing the immune system and relieving pain.  They are widely, easily and legitimately prescribed by physicians to older patients for asthma, bursitis, psoriasis, carpal tunnel syndrome, eczema, dry skin, itching, herpes, osteoarthritis, sinusitis, joint pain and nerve pain, plus many other common health conditions. 

While there are numerous name brand Glucocorticoid drugs are on the market, most are based on the generic versions of Prednisolone, Triamcinolone, Betamethasone, Dexamethasone and Hydrocortisone. 

Going forward, any athlete using Glucocorticoids should apply and receive a Theraputic Use Exemption (TUE) prior participating in an event or make sure the drug has “washed out” of their body before the event. 

Typical “washout” periods are:

If taken orally – 30 days for Triamcinolone and 3 days for other Glucocortioids.

If injected into muscle – 60 days for Triamcinolone, 10 days for Prednisolone and 5 days for Betamethasone, Dexamethasone, Methylprednisolone and Hydrocortizone.

Injections into or around joints or tendons, as well as epidural, intrathecal, intrabursal, intradermal & subcutaneous injections – 10 days for Triamcinolone and Prednisolone; all other Glucocorticoids 3 days.

Athletes receiving Glucocorticoid injections into or around joints should note that these procedures may cause intramuscular injection/absorption. If this is suspected, then the appropriate washout period should be followed or the athlete should apply for a TUE.

Of course, individual athlete washout times may vary – significantly.

Also new for 2022 is the maximum dose of Salbutamol that can be taken immediately (8 hours) before an event.  Starting 1 January this new limit will be 600mg in the final 8 hours before the event starts, while the maximum dose of 1600mg in 24 hours remains unchanged.

Complete 2022 WADA list of banned substances HERE


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