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Anti-doping - Checking medications

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Knowledge level: Beginner

All Cycling

Article posted: 25/01/2014

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The use of medications could lead to a rider inadvertently doping – that is, accidentally committing an Anti-doping Rule Violation. Medications that are used in everyday life may contain prohibited substances. This includes medications prescribed by a GP and those bought over a counter at a pharmacy or ‘off the shelf’ from a supermarket. Examples include some cold and flu remedies and some asthma inhalers.

As the Prohibited List can change at any time riders should check the status of their medications on Global DRO before each time they use them.

Global Drug Reference Online

Before a rider takes any medication they should make sure it does not contain any prohibited substances. UK Anti-Doping, and its equivalents in the USA and Canada, have developed an online tool to support riders to check the status of their medication. This is called Global Drug Reference Online (Global DRO) and can be found here. Global DRO is based on the current WADA Prohibited List, and provides users with information about the status of medications and their ingredients (that is, whether they are prohibited or not). Global DRO is ‘mobile-enabled’ making it even easier for riders to check the contents of medications before purchase and use.

It is a rider’s sole responsibility to be sure that they are not using a medication that is prohibited, so they should always check using Global DRO before use, even if a doctor or any other support personnel has claimed to have checked it. However, it is a good idea for any support personnel regularly prescribing or recommending medication to a rider to be familiar with Global DRO too.

How to use Global DRO

Users are first asked to select their country.

Users must then click “Drug Search”


Users must read and accept the terms and conditions.


Users must then specify their user type, sport and nation of purchase and then enter a product name or an individual ingredient. It is essential that users carefully check the spelling of the brand, product and ingredient names that are generated.