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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 1999 September;90(9):345-58


language: Italian

Doping and sport

Lippi G., Guidi G.


Doping is widely known as the use of banned substances and practices by athletes in an attempt to improve sporting performances. The term doping likely derives from ''dope'', an ancient expression referred to a primitive alcoholic drink that was used as a stimulant in South African ceremonial dances; gradually, the term was extended and finally adopted his current significance. There are at least two essential reasons to support the fight against doping: the potential harmful effects on athletes and the depth corruption of the fair competition. An exhaustive list of banned substances and methods has been drawn by the Internatio-nal Olympic Committee and further accepted by other International Sport Authorities and Federations. This list, regularly updated, is basically divided into doping substances (stimulants, narcotic analgesics, anabolic agents, diuretics, peptide and glycoprotein hormones and analogues), doping methods (blood doping, pharmacological, chemical and physical manipulation) and drugs subjected to certain restrictions (alcohol, marijuana, local anesthetics, corticosteroids and beta-blockers). Although there might be some medical conditions, which could legitimate the need of these substances or methods, there is no place for their use in sport. Thus, an athlete's consume of any of these substances or methods will result in disqualification. Aim of the present review is to provide a synthetic description of both the desirable effects and the potentially harmful consequences of the use of some of the major doping substances and methods.

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