Thursday, September 24, 2009

How many people are unknowingly using PEDs?

This month, I suffered a number of setbacks. From a freakish running injury to a serious bout with pneumonia, it has not been a productive month for fall marathon training. As a result of these issues, the fall marathon is in serious jeopardy. Having a time goal for the race and missing weeks of training is leaning towards choosing a race later in the year.

The freakish injury is possibly for a later time. At first, I thought I was suffering a severe cold with major congestion in the lungs. Sleep it out over the weekend and I should be good to go. Like the ad says, not exactly.

Still experiencing problems breathing, racing heartbeat going to bed, wheezing cough I went to the doctor. I told him I thought I had pneumonia. Ran through my symptoms, he ran a few simple tests and said my diagnosis was spot on.

He prescribed amoxicillin and gave me an inhaler. Before telling me what it was, he showed me how to use it and excitedly encouraged me to take a pull. I did as I was told and after looking at the box I recognized the drug. I’m neither a pharmacist nor a doctor, but Symbicort is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. This drug falls under WADA’s Beta - 2 Agonists.
Was the doctor obligated to advise me of this beforehand? What if I requested an alternative that is not banned by WADA, could he have obliged or is their a relationship between the manufacturer of Symbicort and this doctor? Several doctors I visit seem to have only one drug sample or prescribe only one drug – why is that?

Athletes are famous for going to the “I never knowingly used PEDs” card. My experience lends some credence to that excuse, but with one major exception: elite athletes need to question everything given to them – period. Dara Torres uses Symbicort to treat her asthma.

If my doctor freely gave me a banned substance by WADA, how many other people are using banned substances unknowingly? It’s scary to speculate. ADD, Viagra and other asthma medications just to name a few, but unlike elite athletes, these average joes and janes are using those meds to treat their illness or enhance their life, not get an unfair edge against the competition.

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