Anabolic and Lipolytic Actions of Beta 2 -Agonists in Humans and Anti-Doping Challenges

Anabolic and Lipolytic Actions of Beta 2 -Agonists in Humans and Anti-Doping Challenges / Morten Hostrup, Glenn A. Jacobson, Søren Jessen, Anders Krogh Lemminger. - (Drug Testing and Analysis (2020) 20 January; p. 1-34).
- PMID: 31960603.
- DOI: 10.1002/dta.2728


Inhaled beta2‐adrenoceptor agonists (beta2‐agonists) are among the most used substances in competitive sports. The 2019 Prohibited List issued by the World Anti‐Doping Agency, restricts use of all selective and non‐selective beta2‐agonists in and out competition with few exemptions. Formoterol, salbutamol and salmeterol are allowed by inhalation within defined dosing limits. These restrictions are in place because supratherapeutic use of beta2‐agonist has the potential to be anabolic and enhance performance, as well as due to potential side effects. However, despite substantial documentation that beta2‐agonists exert anabolic and lipolytic actions, these actions are not widely recognised. Furthermore, a common misconception is that the inhaled route does not exert these effects. However, given the high relative systemic bioavailability of the inhaled route, it is likely that inhalation at high doses exerts anabolic and lipolytic actions. In this review, we highlight that beta2‐agonists can exert anabolic and lipolytic actions, regardless of type of beta2‐agonist and route of administration. However, the doses needed to provide such effects are also associated with adverse effects and would in most cases be detected in routine doping control. Notwithstanding, the beta2‐agonist regulations are associated with some challenges and given their ability to induce muscle growth and enhance performance, it is important to continue developing effective detection strategies to lessen potential misuse of beta2‐agonists and allow treatment of asthmatic subjects without causing adverse side effects or ergogenic actions.


20 January 2020
Hostrup, Morten
Jacobson, Glen A.
Jessen, Søren
Lemminger, Anders Krogh
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Københavns Universitet - University of Copenhagen (UCPH)
University of Tasmania (UTAS)
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S3. Beta-2 Agonists
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Date generated
14 January 2020
Date of last modification
29 January 2020
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