Dickinson J, Hu J, Chester N, Loosemore M, and Whyte G
Objectives: Investigate the ergogenic effect of inhaling up to 1600 μg of salbutamol on intermittent running performance in pre-fatigued soccer players.
Methods: In a single blind randomised repeated measures design seven male and six female soccer players volunteered to participant. All participants were regularly playing competitive soccer and had no history of asthma. Following familiarisation sessions participants visited the exercise physiology laboratory on three occasions to complete an intermittent running protocol followed by twelve 17.5 m sprints. Prior to each trial participants inhaled either: placebo, 800 μg inhaled salbutamol (SAL800) or 1600 μg inhaled salbutamol (SAL1600). Following completion of the sprints a sample from the first urine passed was analysed for salbutamol concentration. A repeated measures ANOVA was used to compare the mean sprint time, maximal sprint power, peak blood lactate post sprints and post sprint salbutamol urine concentration between conditions.
Results: Mean sprint time, maximum power, maximum velocity, peak HR and peak blood lactate during the 17.5 m sprints were not significantly different between treatments in soccer players. There was no significant difference between male and female players in urine drug concentration following SAL800 (mean + SD; 201.47 + 294.47 ng.ml-1 vs. 180.2 + 102.15 ng.ml-1) or SAL1600 (739.24 + 549.21 ng.ml-1 vs. 879.58 + 633.14 ng.ml-1). Three players urine drug concentrations were above the WADA decision limit set at 1200 ng.ml-1.
Conclusions: Inhaling up to 1600 μg inhaled salbutamol did not significantly improve repeated sprint performance. However, inhalation of 1600 μg may result in a urine concentration above the current WADA upper limit and decision limit leading to a positive test. Athletes should ensure they use inhaled salbutamol at therapeutic doses to avoid the risk of breaching the WADA decision limit.
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