The benefits and pitfalls of doping in sports, drug by drug

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on May 4th, 2015
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Doping has a variety of effects and consequences. Lance Armstrong is facing losing all of his cycling accomplishments, pitcher Bartolo Colon is serving a 50 game suspension and former pro wrestler Chris Benoit was found to have extreme amounts of testosterone in his body during autopsy. These are only a very small fraction of professional athletes that have been found guilty of, accused of or have admitted to doping. It is important for athletes to understand exactly what doping is and what the potential consequences are.

Testosterone

Notable Athletes Who Tested Positive: Melky Cabrera, Ryan Braun, Kelli White and Bill Romanowski

Athletic Benefits: Testosterone is a hormone that is natural to the body. Athletes use this to build strength and increase muscle size. This also allows athletes to train longer and harder, and decrease the time they need to recover from training and competition.

Pitfalls: The potential effects of testosterone are quite dangerous. Both men and women are at risk for liver tumors, aggressive behavior, injection-related infections, psychiatric conditions, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and circulatory and heart issues.

Diuretics

Notable Athletes Who Tested Positive: Ben Johnson, Ivan Ivanov and Shane Warne

Athletic Benefits: These are primarily used when an athlete needs to shed some pounds very quickly. In addition to weight loss, these can be used to help flush out other banned substances by increasing urine production.

Pitfalls: While diuretics are widely used for a variety of medical conditions, misuse can be very dangerous. Consequences can include dehydration, kidney failure, electrolyte imbalance, heart failure and even death.

Erythropoietin (EPO)

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The benefits and pitfalls of doping in sports, drug by drug

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