Can β2-agonists have an ergogenic effect on strength, sprint or power performance? Systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs

Can β2-agonists have an ergogenic effect on strength, sprint or power performance? Systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs / Amund Riiser, Trine Stensrud, Julie Stang, Lars Bo Andersen. - (British Journal of Sports Medicine (2020) 3 August; p. 1-10)

  • PMID: 32747344
  • DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2019-100708


Objectives: We aimed to examine the effect of β2-agonists on anaerobic performance in healthy non-asthmatic subjects.

Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Eligibility criteria: We searched four databases (PubMed, Embase, SPORTDiscus and Web of Science) for randomised controlled trials, published until December 2019, examining the effect of β2-agonists on maximal physical performance lasting 1 min or shorter. Data are presented as standardised difference in mean (SDM) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).

Results: 34 studies were included in the present meta-analysis. The studies include 44 different randomised and placebo-controlled comparisons with β2-agonists comprising 323 participants in crossover trials, and 149 participants in parallel trials. In the overall analyses, β2-agonists improved anaerobic performance by 5% (SDM 0.29, 95% CI 0.16 to 0.42), but the effect was related to dose and administration route. In a stratified analysis, the SDM was 0.14 (95% CI 0.00 to 0.28) for approved β2-agonists and 0.46 (95% CI 0.24 to 0.68) for prohibited β2-agonists, respectively. Furthermore, SDM was 0.16 (95% CI 0.02 to 0.30) for inhaled administration and 0.51 (95% CI 0.25 to 0.77) for oral administration, respectively, and 0.20 (95% CI 0.07 to 0.33) for acute treatment and 0.50 (95% CI 0.20 to 0.80) for treatment for multiple weeks. Analyses stratified for the type of performance showed that strength (0.35, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.55) and sprint (0.17, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.29) performance were improved by β2-agonists.

Conclusion/implication: Our study shows that non-asthmatic subjects can improve sprint and strength performance by using β2-agonists. It is uncertain, however, whether World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-approved doses of β2-agonists improve performance. Our results support that the use of β2-agonists should be controlled and restricted to athletes with documented asthma.

Original document


3 August 2020
Andersen, Lars Bo
Riiser, Amund
Stang, Julie
Stensrud, Trine
Other organisations
Høgskulen på Vestlandet (HVL) - Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
Norges idrettshøgskole (NIH) - Norwegian School of Sport Sciences
Doping classes
S3. Beta-2 Agonists
Medical terms
Health effects
Document category
Scientific article
Document type
Pdf file
Date generated
28 September 2020
Date of last modification
1 October 2020
  • Legal Source
  • Education
  • Science
  • Statistics
  • History
Country & language
  • Country
  • Language
Other filters
  • ADRV
  • Legal Terms
  • Sport/IFs
  • Other organisations
  • Laboratories
  • Analytical aspects
  • Doping classes
  • Substances
  • Medical terms
  • Various
  • Version
  • Document category
  • Document type
Publication period