New rules around glucocorticoid injections

  • Integrity Blog

From 1 January 2022, all glucocorticoid injections will be prohibited in-competition. This is a new ruling making their classification consistent with oral glucocorticoid preparations.

Athletes may require a glucocorticoid injection for legitimate medical purposes, in which case they’ll need to check the Sport Integrity app for their Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) requirements and keep good medical records to enable a TUE application if required.

Glucocorticoid injections are permitted out of competition. However, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) advises that the most commonly used glucocorticoid injections have a wash-out (clearance from the body) period of between three and five days, but some are longer (up to 60 days for intra-muscular injection.) This means that some injections given before competition can be detected in an in-competition sample.

Sport Integrity Australia Chief Science Officer Dr Naomi Speers reminds athletes to discuss their status with a doctor and to ensure good medical records are kept.

“Some glucocorticoids have longer washout periods and may remain in the athletes system for up to 10 weeks,” Dr Speers says.

“It might be difficult to identify the exact injection that contributed to an atypical in-competition test, which makes it even more important for physicians to practice good medicine with appropriate clinical record keeping.”

The following opportunities will be made available for doctors in sport to discuss the WADA 2022 glucocorticoid injection changes with the members of the Australian Sports Drug Medical Advisory Committee:

• SMA Symposium (online), Saturday 9 October

• Sport Integrity Australia is also hosting a live webinar to discuss this change on at 7pm on October 26. Register now.

• ACSEP annual scientific conference (online), December 3 and 4

• High Performance Sport Medical Officers Group (AIS Chief Medical Officers meeting)

• Sport specific meetings on request from National Sporting Organisations/Chief Medical Officers.

Resources for athletes and medical practitioners have been shared with National Sporting Organisations and are available on the Sport Integrity Australia website.

* This article appeared in our Sport Integrity Matters magazine. You can read more here.