Substances and Methods on the Prohibited List

The WADA publishes and maintains a list of the substances and methods that are prohibited, the document that is called “Prohibited List”. The Prohibited list is set by WADA and is updated at least annually. For ease of reference, WADA publishes the Summary of Major Modifications to the Prohibited List along with relevant information regarding the latest updates and changes to documents in place.

The Prohibited list includes both substances and methods and it is categorised into 3 groups:

  • Substances and methods prohibited at all times
  • Substances and methods prohibited in-competition
  • Substances prohibited in particular sports

A substance or method can be added to the Prohibited List if it meets two of the following three criteria:

  • It has the potential to enhance or enhance sport performance.
  • Use of the substance or method represents an actual or potential health risk to the Athlete.
  • Use of the substance or method violates the spirit of sport.

The Prohibited List is a comprehensive yet complicated document. Here are a few tips and tricks to help Athletes and Athlete Support Personnel navigate it:

  • Not everything on the Prohibited List is a medicine
  • Not every prohibited medicine is listed
  • Other substances with similar chemical structure or effect can also be prohibited
  • Only the ingredient names are listed, not brand names
  • Check the route of administration of the medicine
  • Check male or female use
  • Check dose restrictions
  • Many natural products are not specifically listed
  • Regularly check for updates to the Prohibited List

Things to Remember

Medications can contain banned substances. This includes medications prescribed by a doctor or medical professional and the ones that you can buy over-the-counter in a supermarket or from a pharmacy.

Taking a medication that contains a banned substance is a risk to be aware of.

  • If an Athlete intends to use medication then he/she must check that its ingredients do not contain any banned substances. This means all medications must be checked against the Prohibited List before taking them.
  • Do not assume that if it is prescribed by a medical professional that it is safe to take. An Athlete is ultimately responsible for what is found in his/her system as defined by the Principle of Strict Liability.