Blog: Pseudoephedrine – can you take it?

27 March 2019

Blocked nose? Feeling lousy? Thinking of taking a cold and flu tablet? Be careful.

ASADA Chief Science Officer Naomi Speers says athletes competing in sports governed by a World Anti-Doping Code compliant anti-doping policy need to be aware that they can’t just take any drug or medication, or even use certain methods.

Some common cold and flu tablets and decongestant medications contain pseudoephedrine, which is banned in-competition.

Speers says the World Anti-Doping Agency advises athletes to stop taking such products at least 24 hours before in-competition periods.

“Pseudoephedrine is banned in-competition – to be precise it’s banned when its concentration in a urine sample is greater than 150 micrograms per millilitre,” she says.

“There are permitted alternatives which can be taken in this time period.”

Speers also warns about the use of supplements and herbal products, which can contain prohibited substances.

“Supplements and herbal products are not regulated in the same way as medicines, so they can contain substances not listed on the label,” she says.

“Supplements are also at greater risk from cross-contamination from other substances manufactured on the same equipment. Because of this risk, ASADA’s long standing advice is that no supplement is 100% safe to use and athletes should not risk their careers by taking a supplement.”