The List of prohibited substances and methods

The Prohibited List is the core document thatntifies the substances and methods that are banned in sport.

The Prohibited List is a mandatory International Standard as part of the WADA Program. The List is updated annually following an extensive consultation process facilitated by WADA. The effective date of the List is the 1st January of the following year.

The List is updated at least annually. It includes both substances and methods and it is categorized into 3 groups:

  • Substances and methods prohibited at all times
  • Substances and methods prohibited in-competition
  • Substances prohibited in particular sports

A substance or method can be added to the Prohibited List if it meets two of the following three criteria:

  • It has the potential to enhance sports performance.
  • Use of the substance or method represents an actual or potential health risk to the Athlete.
  • Use of the substance or method violates the spirit of sport.

The Prohibited List is a comprehensive yet complicated document. Here are a few tips and tricks to help Athletes and Athlete Support Personnel navigate it:

  • Not everything on the Prohibited List is a medicine
  • Not every prohibited medicine is listed
  • Other substances with similar chemical structure or effect can also be prohibited
  • Only the ingredient names are listed, not brand names
  • Check the route of administration of the medicine
  • Check male or female use
  • Check dose restrictions
  • Many natural products are not specifically listed
  • Regularly check for updates to the Prohibited List

Things to Remember

  • Medications can contain banned substances. This includes medications prescribed by a doctor or medical professional and the ones that you can buy over-the-counter in a supermarket or from a pharmacy.
  • Taking a medication that contains a banned substance is a risk that you need to be aware of.
  • If an Athlete intends to use medication then he/she must check that its ingredients do not contain any banned substances. This means all medications must be checked against the List before taking them.
  • Do not assume that if it is prescribed by a medical professional that it is safe to take. An Athlete is ultimately responsible for what is found in his/her system (Principle of Strict Liability).