In response to some comment section queries, we at SwimSwam hope to clarify the status of trimetazidine, which remains a substance banned by WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) both in- and out-of-competition.
Trimetazidine has been banned in varying levels since 2014, but has never been removed from the WADA Prohibited List, nor has it had its ban softened. In fact, a 2015 reclassification actually created a more forceful ban on Trimetazidine.
The drug came back into public conversation this month in the ongoing war of words between swimmers like Mack Horton and Lilly King and other athletes they publicly called out as dopers or drug cheats.
One primary target for that criticism was China’s Sun Yang, who won the 200 free in Rio. In comment section discussions about Sun’s spat with Horton, a number of comments incorrectly referenced Sun’s 2014 ban for trimetazidine, claiming the substance had been reclassified and was now legal. It’s true that the substance has been reclassified, but that move actually caused the substance to be banned even more strictly by WADA, not for it to become legal again.
Here’s the full trimetazidine timeline:
In 2014, WADA first added Trimetazidine to its banned substances list, classifying the heart medication as a stimulant. Other banned substances in that classification include ephedrine, amfetamines and cocaine. (2014 WADA Prohibited List)
At that time, trimetazidine was only prohibited in-competition, meaning an athlete would fail a drug test for having it in his or her system in an anti-doping test performed at a meet, but would not fail a test if the substance was detected at an out-of-competition test away from a meet setting.
In May of 2014, Sun was banned for 3 months by the Chinese swimming federation after testing positive for the substance. Sun said then, and still maintains, that the substance was part of a medication he took for a heart condition and that he did not know it had become illegal a few months earlier.
The next year, trimetazidine was reclassified by WADA as a metabolic modulator. That change made trimetazidine illegal both in- and out-of-competition. (2015 WADA Prohibited List)
This year, the substance remains banned as a metabolic modulator and is still illegal both in-competition and out. You can see the full 2016 WADA Prohibited Substances list here.