The Probenecid-story - A success in the fight against doping through out-of-competition testing

The Probenecid-story - A success in the fight against doping through out-of-competition testing / Peter Hemmersbach. - (Drug Testing and Analysis 12 (2020) 5 (May); p. 589-594)

  • PMID: 31797550
  • DOI: 10.1002/dta.2727


The effectiveness of doping control in sport has been improved continuously during the past 50 years. One of the major steps forward was the introduction of unannounced and targeted out-of-competition testing in order to control the misuse of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), mainly during the end of the 1980s. It also led to the misuse of masking agents in case a surprise control was performed. Athletes tried to be "prepared", when the doping control officer showed up. The disclosure of the masking agent probenecid in 1987 is a perfect example of a memorable finding, of a suspected and purported case of performance manipulation. Probenecid and its metabolites were identified in five urine samples collected from Norwegian athletes in an out-of-competition test, while they were staying and training in the USA. Probenecid is a drug that reduces the urinary excretion of AAS from the body. It was the first time that it had showed up in a doping control sample. The athletes were sanctioned for hampering the analysis of their urine sample, although probenecid was not yet specified on the Prohibited List. Its detection was the result of a successful collaboration of laboratories and investigative diligence and enthusiasm following up suspicious observations in the actual samples. Immediately afterwards probenecid was added to the Prohibited List for 1988 as well as including the manipulation of doping control samples.


2 December 2019
Hemmersbach, Peter
Tampering / attempted tampering
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Anti-Doping policy
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Universitetet i Oslo - University of Oslo
Oslo, Norway: Norwegian Doping Control Laboratory
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S5. Diuretics and Other Masking Agents
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15 March 2021
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29 November 2021
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