Trimetazidine Remains Banned By WADA Both In- And Out-of-Competition

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 Yangwho 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.

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2 years ago

It’s still funny how the Men’s Freestyle World Records still remain unchanged for over a decade now, and FINA cancelled the high-tech swimsuits only after the Chinese guy Zhang Lin set the penultimate men’s swimming world record in it at the 2009 Rome WC ,(800m FS) and Chinese woman Liu Zige destroyed the very final world record in one in her final nationals (200m Fly) in the same year, and enough was enough lol mao!

5 years ago

See previous Swimswam article on this substance.
Questions–is this substance known to be found in any over-the-counter supplements or in tainted supplements? Or is it available only by prescription? Why did Sun Yang only get a three-month suspension for its use and Cox gets hit with two years?

7 years ago

In 2014, did Sun failed an in-competition test or out-of-competition test. If it is former, then he is guilty, if it is latter, he is not guilty. According to the above clarifications.

Attila the Hunt
Reply to  Swimboy
7 years ago

And the news would have never gotten out had some local Chinese publication didn’t leak the info several months later.
This means the Chinese Swimming Federation broke FINA rules by not informing FINA of a positive test.
FINA did nothing to punish the Chinese.
After the news was leaked, the Chinese Federation was forced to make another lie: they claimed they had given sun yang a retroactive ban for 3 months, which should mean that Yang could swim at the 2014 Asian Games.
China also broke another rule by giving credential to Yang’s doctor, Ba Zhen who was supposedly banned for one year, and yet attended the 2014 Asian games.
Again, FINA did nothing.

Reply to  Attila the Hunt
7 years ago

I am amazed by how much you know about the details/history of Chinese swimming. Jared just wanted to state the fact and truth. Too much hatred these days – whether it’s on the Chinese or from them. Can we just simply get along??

Attila the Hunt
7 years ago

Do you not want fact and truth?
What I wrote above is fact and truth.

Don’t believe me? Look it up. Information and truth is readily available to those who seek them.

Concerned Coach
7 years ago

NEWTOSWIMSWAM…No- I very much hope the “clean” swimming world does not “get along”. I believe those of us who care about the integrity of the sport MUST continue to speak out publicly regarding doping. The prelude to Rio, and the some of the athletes in Rio, bore that out in full color. The sport is the athletes sport, it’s not the coaches, administrators or various governing bodies sport. The athletes have begun to speak out publicly against dopers and I hope they continue to do so. Only then will the world begin to see the dopers (or the countries who dope their athletes) for what they are-stone cold cheaters.

We saw this same activity in the 70s with the… Read more »

Reply to  Concerned Coach
7 years ago

If you read my comments elsewhere, you’d know I’m a strong proponent of zero tolerance on cheaters and dopers. I also called out China/Xinhua for its shameless claims in its full page ad. This excellent PSA article by Jared was written in part at my request because I noticed many angry commenters, including many on this site, mostly Chinese I assume, still believe Sun Yang didn’t take any PED. Ignorance is the cause of many problems in our world today. Good communication can avoid or at least reduce uninformed comments, some of which have been very nasty and hateful, mostly from the Chinese who defend Sun. We all want our sport to be clean but must do it in a… Read more »

ct swim fan
7 years ago

Truly amazing that some of these swimmers can even breathe with all of the heart medication they are taking.

7 years ago

Hope Xinhua and other Chinese news outlets will pick up this article of facts and inform their readers accordingly. It would significantly reduce the # of negative comments on Horton.

Attila the Hunt
7 years ago

Are you kidding me?
This is not new info. Of course Xinhua and other Chinese news outlets already knew of this.
Informing their readers accordingly is not their top priority.
Remember that this is Xinhua who placed a full page ad on the The Times (UK) congratulating China on finishing second the medal table, while the truth is they finished third behind UK.

Reply to  Attila the Hunt
2 years ago

Looks like Britain stole the Bronze from China at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in the Men’s 4×100 Sprint Relay 😮 … now they’ll have to give it up and allow China onto the podium!

Last edited 2 years ago by Blobby

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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