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The hidden dangers in your medicine cabinet

5 Jun 2024

Winter warning

Sick athelte in bed blowing their nose.

As the winter months roll in, many of us battle colds and flu. It's tempting to reach for over-the-counter medications to ease the symptoms, but it's crucial to be aware that even over-the-counter medications can contain ingredients that are banned in sport. 

Pseudoephedrine: A common culprit in cold and flu medications 

Pseudoephedrine is back on shelves but remains banned in-competition according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List. It’s commonly found in decongestants and relieves stuffy noses and sinusitis. However, if you test positive for pseudoephedrine in-competition then you risk a ban from all sport. 

It’s not against the rules to use pseudoephedrine out-of-competition. But if you do, we have two important tips: 

  1. Only ever take the recommended dose; 
  2. Stop using the medication at least 24 hours before competition. 

Staying safe with Global DRO 

Staying healthy during winter is important, and using medications sensibly will help. The most important thing you can do is to check every medication on Global DRO before you use it. Global DRO is an online database that gives you information about medicinal products based on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List. It can tell you whether a product is permitted in sport, banned in sport, or whether there are limits to its use. 

It’s important to check the brand names carefully when you perform your search, because they can be confusing. For example, Codral Cold and Flu contains pseudoephedrine, but Codral PR Cold and Flu does not.  

If you can’t find your medication on Global DRO then searching the active ingredients will tell you whether something is banned or permitted in sport.  

The value of vigilance 

Being vigilant about the medications you use can help you avoid accidentally using banned substances. Vigilance can protect your career and your reputation from silly mistakes. And being vigilant about the choices you make allows you to keep your competitive edge without compromising your integrity. 

Learn more about checking medications