Anti-ischemic drug Meldonium has been upgraded to WADA’s banned substances list for 2016, and swimming federations have already started to warn athletes of its coming illegality.
WADA began monitoring Meldonium in 2015, adding the drug to its “Monitoring Program” to determine how widespread its use was within sport and what effects it could have on athletic performance. Clearly, whatever WADA found made it take the drug seriously, as it added the drug to its new banned list, which takes effect on January 1, 2016.
The drug is used medically to treat ischemia, or lack of blood flow. It improves exercise capacity in patients with chronic heart failure, but can also increase exercise capacity in healthy athletes, giving them an unfair advantage in athletics.
The Guardian reports that Meldonium was added to the banned list due to “evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance.”
RUSADA, Russia’s anti-doping agency, sent out a memo reminding athletes, coaching and support personnel that the substance had been banned.
“It is necessary to… stop taking this substance, as the discover of the substance in an athlete’s sample would be a violation of anti-doping rules beginning January 1, 2016,” the release reads in a rough translation of the Russian.