Athletes’ Interest in Vasodilators for Performance Grows



Athletes’ Interest in Vasodilators for Performance Grows

LONDON – There is growing interest among athletes in the possible use of nitric oxide and associated vasodilators to enhance performance, which could lead to misuse and serious health effects, according to a review out of Kingston University (J Intl Soc Sports Nutr. ePub 29 June 2010. DOI: 10.1186/1550-2783-7-25). The research team conducted a retrospective analysis of anonymous inquiries recorded in the Drug Information Database (DID) between January 2006 and June 2008 (inclusive); a total of 198,023 inquiries were received. While phophodiesterase type-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors, such as Viagra®, were 16th among substance groups, there was another notable increase in the nitric oxide precursor supplement products in the period leading up to the Beijing Olympics.

The authors noted the level of interest in such products appears high for the target population (young athletes), given the primary medical reason for the use of PDE-5 inhibitors and nitrate products is to address erectile dysfunction and related chronic medical conditions. They said the interest in such products may have been spurred by the filing of patents for the use of agents containing sodium nitrite/nitrate to enhance blood flow for sports performance. In addition, anecdotal evidence from Internet forums and media reports suggests athletes already may be using vasodilators to enhance performance. The use of PDE-5 inhibitors or nitrate/nitrate group chemicals is not currently prohibited or tested for by doping control agencies; however, their use can lead to serious adverse effects.

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