On Tuesday, WADA published a notice clarifying Meldonium’s inclusion on the 2016 Prohibited List, recent excretion studies and the results management and adjudication process for those athletes testing positive for the substance. Meldonium, also known as Mildronate and THP, is used medically to treat ischaemia, a lack of blood flow to parts of the body. It is not approved by the FDA in the United States and is banned in Europe. The drug is manufactured in Latvia and distributed to Russia and Baltic countries.
Tuesday’s notice, however, acknowledged that there is not a lot of scientific data about how long the drug stays in an athlete’s system. This statement could make it difficult for WADA to prove that athletes had taken Meldonia after its official ban beginning January 1, 2016.
WADA added Meldonium to its Monitoring Program on January 1, 2015. After conducting several studies, WADA concluded that the drug carries more oxygen to muscle tissue, thereby enhancing performance. Meldonium was added to the Prohibited List on September 16, 2015.
Maria Sharapova made headlines in January when she tested positive for Meldonium while at the Australian Open. Sharapova admitted that she had been using the drug for 10 years, citing a magnesium deficiency and a family history of diabetes.
To date, no athletes competing in the sport of Weightlifting have been sanctioned for the use of Meldonium.