Sport and doping

Cortisone can improve the mental and physical abilities of athletes and are therefore considered “doping” substances.

Corticosteroids taken as tablets, through intramuscular or intravenous injection, and even rectally are prohibited (except in certain cases) for the majority of competitive athletes. Athletes benefit from certain properties of steroids including:

  • Increased effort and energy due to higher glucose during exercise
  • Less muscle swelling and pain as cortisone has an extensive anti-inflammatory property
  • Decreased sense of fatigue, increased euphoria and more energy due to changes in the athlete?s central nervous system
  • Glycogen consumed during exercise is quickly replenished

It is important to note that prolonged use of cortisone leads to muscle and tendon injuries that negatively affect the physical performance of athletes.

Regular physical activity is highly advised for patients treated with corticosteroids. This activity can reduce many side effects of treatment (muscle weakness, osteoporosis, weight gain). Thirty minutes of brisk walking each day is recommended to patients undergoing long-term corticotherapy.

Useful references
  • Duclos M. Evidence on ergogenic action of glucocorticoids as a doping agent risk. Phys Sportsmed. 2010
  • Dvorak J et al. Glucocorticosteroids in football: use and misuse. Br J Sports Med. 2006