Case scenario

Melissa has come into your pharmacy with a prescription for metronidazole for her daughter, Isabella (17 years old), for a gastrointestinal infection. Melissa explains that Isabella is a competitive swimmer and has a major competition next week. She is concerned that the antibiotic may be a banned substance.

Learning objectives

After reading this article, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Discuss the use of drugs in sport
  • Discuss how to identify banned and/or restricted substances in sport
  • Describe the role of the pharmacist in helping athletes maintain integrity in sports.

Competency standards (2016) addressed: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 3.2

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Introduction

The use of drugs (prescription, non-prescription and recreational) by athletes for medical, recreational and performance-enhancing purposes in both competitive and non-competitive sports is common.1,2 Despite little evidence, there is a common belief that certain medicines will lead to enhanced sports performance.1 Athletes may also use medicines for legitimate medical purposes. Medicines commonly used by athletes include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, and medicines for the management of chronic medical conditions (e.g. hypertension, depression and asthma).3 Pharmacists have an important role to play in providing advice to athletes, coaches, management teams and other health professionals on the appropriate use of medicines and supplements in sport.2,4

Incidence and risks of drug misuse in sport

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