Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2014) 13, 271 - 279

Research article
Acute Impact of Inhaled Short Acting B-Agonists on 5 Km Running Performance
John Dickinson1, , Jiu Hu2, Neil Chester2, Mike Loosemore3, Greg Whyte2
Author Information
1 University of Kent, Chatham Maritime, UK
2 Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK
3 University College London, London, UK

John Dickinson
✉ School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Kent, Medway Building, Chatham Maritime, Kent, ME4 4AG, UK
Publish Date
Received: 08-11-2013
Accepted: 27-11-2013
Published (online): 01-05-2014
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Whilst there appears to be no ergogenic effect from inhaled salbutamol no study has investigated the impact of the acute inhalation of 1600 µg, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) daily upper limit, on endurance running performance. To investigate the ergogenic effect of an acute inhalation of short acting β2-agonists at doses up to 1600 µg on 5 km time trial performance and resultant urine concentration. Seven male non-asthmatic runners (mean ± SD; age 22.4 ± 4.3 years; height 1.80 ± 0.07 m; body mass 76.6 ± 8.6 kg) provided written informed consent. Participants completed six 5 km time-trials on separate days (three at 18 °C and three at 30 °C). Fifteen minutes prior to the initiation of each 5 km time-trial participants inhaled: placebo (PLA), 800 µg salbutamol (SAL800) or 1600 µg salbutamol (SAL1600). During each 5 km time-trial HR, VO2, VCO2, VE, RPE and blood lactate were measured. Urine samples (90 ml) were collected between 30-180 minutes post 5 km time-trial and analysed for salbutamol concentration. There was no significant difference in total 5 km time between treatments (PLA 1714.7 ± 186.2 s; SAL800 1683.3 ± 179.7 s; SAL1600 1683.6 ± 190.7 s). Post 5 km time-trial salbutamol urine concentration between SAL800 (122.96 ± 69.22 ug·ml-1) and SAL1600 (574.06 ± 448.17 ug·ml-1) were not significantly different. There was no improvement in 5 km time-trial performance following the inhalation of up to 1600 µg of salbutamol in non-asthmatic athletes. This would suggest that the current WADA guidelines, which allow athletes to inhale up to 1600 µg per day, is sufficient to avoid pharmaceutical induced performance enhancement.

Key words: Anti-Doping, WADA code, asthma, treatment, athlete care

           Key Points
  • Inhaling up to 1600 µg of Salbutamol does not result in improved 5 km time trial performance.
  • The position of Salbutamol on the World Anti-Doping Agency list of prohibited appears justified.
  • Athletes who use up to 1600 µg Salbutamol in one day need to review their therapy as it would suggest their respiratory condition is not under control.
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