The Law Dictionary

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Types Of Performance-Enhancing Drugs

In the 21st century, the world of professional sports has gathered more attention than usual due to the unpleasant headlines related to the use of performance-enhancing drugs by major athletes. From Lance Armstrong to Marion Jones and from Beverly McDonald to Roger Clemens, the list of professional athletes who have been caught using steroids and other substances to gain an unfair advantage keeps getting longer.

Here are the most common types of performance-enhancing drugs detected by the World Anti-Doping Agency and other organizations:


These drugs, which are widely used in clinical settings, promote fluid loss and evacuation. Competitive bodybuilders use diuretics to achieve a more defined and chiseled look, and boxers sometimes take them as a method to lose weight quickly and thus avoid disqualification before a fight.

Lean Mass Builders

These are among the most commonly used performance-enhancing drugs. This is the group where anabolic steroids and human growth hormones can be found. The reason these drugs are highly sought after by high performance include muscle growth, body fat reduction and muscle tissue nourishment. After the age of 27, the human body tends to stop generating new muscle fiber; through the use of lean mass builders, athletes may be able to extend their biological clocks.


Caffeine, ephedrine, amphetamines, and even cocaine are sometimes used by soldiers, long haul drivers, and endurance athletes. People who take stimulants can reduce the amount of pain and exertion they feel, raise their metabolic rate, and get a perceived energy boost.

Blood Boosters

When used in combination with stimulants, blood boosters can expand the capacity of the lungs and arterial system to handle greater concentrations of oxygen. Erythropoietin is a medication that is often detected in cycling, running, mountaineering, and cross-country activities that require lots of physical endurance.


Common over-the-counter medications such as Motrin are very common among athletes, soldiers, construction workers, and other people whose chosen occupation leads to physical exertion as well as muscle and joint pain. Prescription painkillers, however, have other clinical properties that may unfairly increase athletic performance. Sedatives, for example, can be used to reduce performance anxiety. Some narcotics can systematically raise blood pressure, which in turns delivers more oxygen to the muscles.


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