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Parliamentary select committee report calls for complete ban on corticosteroids

Joe Robinson
5 Mar 2018

Select Committee calls for complete ban on corticosteroids and Tramadol following 'Doping in Sport' report

The same Select Committee report that slammed Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky for the use of corticosteroids ahead of the 2012 Tour de France has also called for the wholesale ban of the drug. 

The 'Combating Doping in Sport' report from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has suggested that in consideration of the properties corticosteroids - like the Triamcinolone used by Wiggins on three separate occasions - in terms of performance-enhancement, and the evidence surrounding its application in cycling, that the use of corticosteroids for the treatment of medical conditions should be avoided in sport.

'We believe that WADA should introduce a complete ban on their use,' reads the report.

The report then continues to slam the use of Tramadol in cycling stating, 'We were also concerned to hear evidence about the negative health impacts for riders resulting from the abuse of the painkiller Tramadol.

'Again, we believe that WADA should consider introducing a ban on the use of Tramadol.'

In a following press release, UK Anti-Doping echoed the findings of the report in terms of the banning the use of these substances.

'Triamcinolone is currently only banned in-competition. UKAD has in the past made representations that it and other glucocorticoids should be banned at all times (including out of competition),' its release said.

'We have called for Tramadol to be included in WADA’s Prohibited List and will continue to push for this change.'

Currently, the use of corticosteroids is permitted with a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) and can be used out of competition without a TUE.

Tramadol is not banned but is under review by the World Anti-Doping Agency for its abuse in sport.

As part of the report, an unnamed whistleblower from within Team Sky stated, 'Under the current rules I do not think that there has been a breach however I do believe that TUE's were used tactically by the team to support the health of a rider with an ultimate aim of supporting performance.'

Furthermore, David Millar was quoted within the report stating, 'drugs like triamcinolone are used by riders because of their performance-enhancing properties.'

In the report, it quotes Millar further reporting his assertion that the drug is a 'catabolic agent' and that on the occasions he used it he was 'the lightest I’d been in my career, yet I didn’t lose power—often the penalty when a rider sheds weight.'

The decision to ban the complete use of corticosteroids will fundamentally be the decision of WADA but with further investigations set to take place surrounding these latest findings and pressure from national doping bodies, it is likely that calls for their ban will only increase.