Glucocorticoid administration in athletes: Performance, metabolism and detection

Glucocorticoid administration in athletes: Performance, metabolism and detection / Katia Collomp, Alexandre Arlettaz, Corinne Buisson, Anne-Marie Lecoq, Cynthia Mongongu. - (Steroids 115 (2016) November; p. 193-202)

  • PMID: 27643452
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.steroids.2016.09.008


It is generally acknowledged in the sporting world that glucocorticoid (GC) use enhances physical performance. This pharmacological class is therefore banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in in-competition samples after systemic but not local (defined as any route other than oral, intravenous, intramuscular or rectal) administration, which thus allows athletes to use GCs for therapeutic purposes. According to the 2016 WADA list, the urine reporting level for all GCs is set at 30ng/ml to distinguish between the authorized and banned routes of administration. The actual data on the ergogenic effects of GC intake are nevertheless fairly recent, with the first study showing improved physical performance with systemic GC administration dating back only to 2007. Moreover, the studies over the last decade coupling ergogenic and metabolic investigations in humans during and after GC intake have shown discrepant results. Similarly, urine discrimination between banned and authorized GC use remains complex, but it seems likely to be improved thanks to new analytical studies and the inclusion of the authorized GC uses (local routes of administration and out-of-competition samples) in the WADA monitoring program. In this review, we first summarize the current knowledge on the ergogenic and metabolic GC effects in humans during various types of exercise. We then present the antidoping legislation and methods of analysis currently used to detect GC abuse and conclude with some practical considerations and perspectives.


16 September 2016
Arlettaz, Alexandre
Buisson, Corinne
Collomp, Katia
Lecoq, Anne-Marie
Mongongu, Chynthia
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Université d'Orléans - University of Orléans
Université Paris-Sud - Paris-Sud University
Paris, France: Agence Française de Lutte contre le Dopage (AFLD)
Doping classes
S9. Glucocorticosteroids
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23 September 2020
Date of last modification
24 September 2020
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