Glucocorticoid (GC) injections

In-competition use

Glucocorticoid (GC) injections are prohibited in competition.

If you need a GC injection in-competition then you may also need a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

Your level of competition determines whether you need a TUE in advance, or can apply retroactively. In both cases, you will need comprehensive medical records from your doctor or medical team.

TUE in-advance: High-level athletes need a TUE in advance. This means that a TUE must be in place before the injection is administered.

Retroactive TUE: All other athletes only need a TUE if they test positive for GCs at doping control. That's why it's important to keep comprehensive medical records.

Out of competition use

It's OK to use any prescribed GC out of competition. However, some GCs can take a long time to leave the body. This means that there's a risk they may show up during your in-competition period. Even if the injection happens during your off-season or between games, traces of the substance may linger and you may still test positive in-competition.

That's why it’s important to get comprehensive medical records from your clinician for every treatment. If you test positive in-competition for a GC used out of competition then you can apply for a retroactive TUE to show you took the medication legitimately.

If you need a GC injection out-of-competition:

  • Remind your clinician that you're subject to drug testing.
  • With their assistance, identify how long the GC will take to leave your body.
  • Ask your medical professional to keep comprehensive medical records.
  • Ask your medical professional to share your medical records with you in case you need to apply for a retroactive TUE.

No TUEs for out-of-competition GC injections.
We understand that the possibility of returning a positive test in-competition means that some athletes would like a TUE in advance for an out-of-competition GC injection. Unfortunately, as no rules are being broken by haing a GC injection our of competition, we're not obliged to (and have limited capacity to) organise a TUE in advance. Simply keep your comprehensive medical records to hand in the event that they are needed.

Download more details

We have detailed factsheets on glucocorticoid injections suitable for athletes and clinicians.