The Prohibited List
The Prohibited List is published by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). It details all substances and methods that are prohibited or banned in sport, and is updated every year on January 1.
A substance or method may be included on the list if it meets any two of the following criteria:
- it has the potential to enhance sporting performance
- it presents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete
- it violates the spirit of sport.
The information below gives you an overview of the kinds of substances and methods that are banned in sport, but we advise you to check the full WADA 2022 Prohibited List (PDF).
2022 Prohibited List changes: a summary
1. ALL Glucocorticoid (GC) injections*, e.g. cortisone, are prohibited in-competition.
2. Permitted salbutamol dosage is 600 micrograms over 8 hours.
In a medical emergency, athletes should always get the treatment they need without hesitation.
*Scroll down for more information
2022 updates: Glucocorticoid (GC) injections
GC injections are prohibited in-competition
If you need a GC injection in-competition, you may need a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).
Your level of competition will determine if you need this in advance (i.e. before the injection is administered) or are entitled to apply retroactively (i.e. after the injection is administered and only if you test positive for GCs at doping control).
In both cases, you will need comprehensive medical records of your GC treatment.
TUE decision-making guide
You can use any prescribed GC out-of-competition. However, even though you may use a GC legitimately out-of-competition, traces of the substance may still be found in an in-competition doping control sample. Even if you have a GC injection in your off-season or between games, you may still test positive in-competition.
It’s important to get a comprehensive medical record from your medical professional for every treatment, and particularly when a GC is used, in case you need to apply for a retroactive TUE.
If you need a GC injection out-of-competition:
- Remind your medical professional that you are subject to doping control.
- With their assistance, identify the washout period for the GC you are treated with.
- Ask your medical professional to keep comprehensive medical records.
- Ask your medical professional to share your medical records with you in case you need to apply for a retroactive TUE.
We understand that the possibility of returning a positive test in-competition means that some athletes would prefer to obtain a TUE in advance for an out-of-competition GC injection. However, as no rules are being broken by having a GC injection out-of-competition, we are not obliged to (and have limited capacity to) organise a TUE in advance. Simply keep your comprehensive medical records to hand in the event that they are needed.
The time it takes a drug to be eliminated from your body is known as the “washout” period. The most commonly prescribed GCs have a washout period of 3-5 days, but some may still be detectable by doping control 60 days or more after administration.
GC washout periods
From 1 January 2022, all injectable GCs will be prohibited in-competition.
Previously some routes of GC injection were permitted in-competition, but this change makes their classification consistent with oral (systemic) GC administration.
If an athlete needs a GC injection in-competition, they may require a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). Their level of competition will determine if they need an in-advance or are entitled to apply retroactively.
- In-advance TUE – the athlete must have an approved TUE before the injection is administered.
- Planned retroactive TUE – the medical professional must keep careful medical records of the injection and share these with the athlete in case of a later positive test.
Depending on the GC used, traces may remain in an athlete’s system for 60 days or more (e.g., in the case of Triamcinolone). An athlete could have an injection in the off-season and still test positive for GCs at in-competition testing.
If prescribing or administering a GC injection, keep a comprehensive medical record which can then be used to verify the injection if the athlete tests positive. This is your clinical obligation to the management of any athlete subject to possible doping control.
The medical record
The medical record must include clear documentation in support of your clinical diagnosis where use of a GC is recognised treatment, confirmation of the specific GC given, and the date and route of administration. Supporting evidence of investigations, hi-tech imaging and collaborative opinion will always strengthen the case for TUE approval. The TUE Committee can only act on the information you provide.
Most commonly used injectable GCs have a washout period of between 3 and 5 days, but some, such as Triamcinolone, can be 60 days (or more) for an intra-muscular injection. We encourage medical professionals to avoid Triamcinolone given its long washout period, and use other GCs where possible, unless there is a specific clinical indication.
Wallet Guide 2022
Our Wallet Guide is a handy reminder about 2022 rules around common medications and other clean sport info.
(PDF / 595 KB)
Even common medications can contain prohibited substances. That's why we advise athletes to check every medication on Global DRO before using it - it's the best way to keep safe.
Questions about common medications?
You can find information about common medications like asthma inhalers, cold and flu treatments or pain medication on our common medications page.