Changes to the 2021 Prohibited List

  • Integrity Blog

Each year, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) publishes the Prohibited List, which identifies the substances and methods that are prohibited in sport.

It’s your responsibility to stay up to date with any changes that might affect you.

The 2021 Prohibited List has been redesigned so it’s easier to use and will remain in effect until 1 January 2022 when the new list is published.

You can read about the changes below but as always, it is best to read the Prohibited List [PDF 2.6MB] yourself – in good news, WADA have tried to make it more ‘athlete friendly’ this year!

Major Changes (as of January 1, 2021)

Substances of Abuse are identified on the Prohibited List. These are substances that are frequently abused in society outside of sport. You might know these as illicit, recreational or party drugs. Cocaine, heroin, MDMA, and THC (found in Cannabis) are all identified as Substances of Abuse on the Prohibited List. Other substances are under investigation and may be included as Substances of Abuse in future years.

Before 2021, the presence of these substances in your system in-competition could lead to a four-year ban. From 1 January 2021, if an athlete tests positive to a Substance of Abuse in-competition, the sanction is only three months if the athlete can prove the substance was used out of competition and was unrelated to sporting performance.

Anyone currently serving a sanction for a Substance of Abuse can apply to Sport Integrity Australia to have their sanction reduced as of January 1, 2021, if the new rules apply to their case.

Intravenous infusions or injections of any substance more than 100ml per 12 hours (except for those administered in hospital, surgery or clinical diagnostics) are still banned, however from 2021 this method will be classified as a ‘specified method’ which means there will be more flexibility in the sanction process.

Under a new rule change, an athlete may receive a reduced sanction if it can be proven that the infusion or injection was not used for doping purposes.

This change is recognition that it this method is more likely to have been used for a purpose other than performance enhancement.

Other Changes:

S2 – Name Change & Example Added

Transforming growth factor-beta inhibitors are now included with their full name, rather than the abbreviated name. IOX2 is added as an example of a hypoxia-inducible factor activating agent.

S3 – Substance Permitted and Clarification

Inhaled vilanterol, an ingredient often found in asthma medication, was previously prohibited at all times. It is now permitted up to the manufacturer’s maximum recommended dose (a metered dose of 25 micrograms, which is equivalent to a delivered dose of 22 micrograms over 24 hours). Athletes who use asthma medication which contains vilanterol below the permitted dose no longer need a TUE. Some asthma medications still remain prohibited, and Arformoterol and levosalbutamol have been added as examples to clarify that they are prohibited.

S4 – Clarification

Subclasses 4.2 and 4.3 have been amalgamated to become Anti-estrogenic Substances, including Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs). This clarification did not add or remove any substances from the category.

S5 - Clarification

The wording regarding the exception to allow ophthalmic use of carbonic anhydrase inhibitors is clarified as ‘topical ophthalmic administration’.

S6, S9 & P1 – Examples Added

Examples of imidazole derivatives for topical use are added to the exceptions in S6. Additional examples of glucocorticoids are added to the list in S9. Nebivolol was added as an example of a Beta-blocker in P1.

Monitoring Program – Inclusion

The Monitoring Program allows WADA to monitor substances in order to detect patterns of misuse in sport. Included in this year’s monitoring program are samples containing salmeterol and vilanterol below the minimum reporting level, which are being monitored to measure their therapeutic use vs. risk of abuse.

Future Changes:

WADA has also announced in advance a change that will come into effect next year, allowing for a 12-month period for education and awareness. From 1 January 2022, injecting glucocorticoids (such as Cortisone) during the In-Competition period will be prohibited, regardless of the specific type or location of injection. Injection routes that are currently permitted, such as injecting Cortisone into a joint, will be prohibited from 1 January 2022.


Not all prohibited substances are specifically named in the Prohibited List.

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