WADA Prohibited Substances List

The prohibited substances list is a list of all drugs, supplements and other substances and methods which are banned from use in sports. WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) is responsible for maintaining and updating this list. Note the list below may not be up to date!

Some substances are banned only during competition, while others depend on the method of administration (for example inhalation versus tablet or injection form).

The list of prohibited substances is updated annually to keep up with advances in science and technology, with a new list being issued on the 1st of January. A substance is added to the list if it meets two of the three criteria listed below:

  • The potential for enhanced performance
  • The potential for being detrimental to health
  • Violation of the spirit of sport

In some cases, an athlete may have a pre-existing medical condition which requires them to take medication which is listed. In this case, the athlete can apply to their International Federation for a Therapeutic Use Exemption which must be verified by their physician. In order to be accepted the following must be true:

  • The athlete would suffer significant health problems if they do not take the medication
  • There is no suitable alternative which is not listed
  • There are no considerable performance-enhancing benefits

What Substances Make up the Prohibited List?

Currently, the prohibited list contains 5 classes of substances and 3 methods of doping which are banned at all times and a further 4 substances banned during competition.

Substances Banned at All Times:

  • Anabolic Steroids including THG
  • Hormones including:
    1. Erythropoietin (EPO)
    2. Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
    3. Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1)
    4. Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG)
    5. Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH)
  • Beta-2-Agonists
  • Hormone Antagonists and Modulators
  • Diuretics

Methods Banned at All Times:

  • Enhancement of Oxygen transfer including:
    • Blood Doping
    • Artificial Oxygen Carriers
  • Chemical and Physical Manipulation including tampering with samples and intravenous infusion
  • Gene Doping

Substances Banned in Competition:

  • Stimulants including:
    • Amphetamines
    • Ephedra
    • Cocaine
    • Caffeine (currently permitted)
  • Narcotics
  • Cannabinoids
  • Glucocorticosteroids