Protecting the Right to Enjoy Doping-Free Sport

How to Have Clean Sporting Success

Paul Collingwood

Paul Collingwood

This section looks at some of the key areas of anti-doping that you should know to ensure your sporting success is clean.

Anti-doping basics:
1. Check ALL medication on Global DRO prior to use
2. What happens in a test – watch the testing video to see what happens during a test
3. Be wary of supplements – assess the need to use nutritional supplements and then think carefully about the risks involved with them and the potential consequences on your career
4. Check which anti-doping rules apply to your sport and in the competitions you participate in
5. Know the testing process and your rights and responsibilities
6. Know where to find sources of advice
7. Take control of your career

Checking Medications

All athletes should ensure that they check any over-the-counter or prescribed medications for prohibited substances. Here are some top tips: 

  • Remember to check any medications you may need to take on Global DRO – the drug reference website
  • Global DRO can only be used to check over-the-counter and prescribed medications purchased in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Switzerland or Japan.
  • Keep the reference number of any medicine checks you make on Global DRO
  • Always check any medication before you take it, even if this has been given to you by a trusted sports medic, coach or parent
  • Check repeat prescriptions regularly, as the manufacturing process and ingredients can change
  • Be vigilant with medicated creams and lotions as these may contain prohibited substances.

Remember to tell all those who are supporting your sporting career that you need to abide by the anti-doping rules. Always ask for advice if you are unsure about any decision and check all medications before you take them.

Therapeutic Use Exemptions

If you need to take medication that contains a prohibited substance and there are no alternative medications, you may need to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).
You can only be granted a TUE if:

  • you would experience significant health problems if you weren’t able to take the prohibited substance or method
  • your use of the substance would only return you to normal health, and would not give you any additional enhancement of performance
  • there are no reasonable alternatives
  • the need for the prohibited substance or method is not a consequence of previous doping activity.

International level athletes as defined by their International Federation should apply to their International Federation, and national-level athletes should apply to UKAD.

An independent TUE committee will then review the application and must make a decision within 30 days of receiving the form and all necessary supporting information. UK Anti-Doping aims to respond to a TUE application within seven days.

All TUE applications must be supported by the following information:

  • Your medical history
  • Evidence of an accurate diagnosis. For long-term conditions, you should provide review letters that confirm that your treatment has been monitored.

When do I need a TUE?

You need to check if you require a TUE in advance of your use of the medication. See the section When to Apply for a TUE for further information. This will also help you to find out which organisation you need to submit the TUE to.

If you need a TUE in advance then you must ensure this is in place prior to using the medication (unless in an emergency situation or there is significant harm to your health), or you may commit an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV). UKAD recommends that athletes who have a TUE carry their certificate with them at all times. If you are selected for testing, you will need to declare that you have a current TUE.

If you are not required to have a TUE in advance, then you will only need to apply for one if you are selected for testing. You will have 10 working days in which to submit your TUE application so if you know you need to use a medication that contains a banned substance you should have the necessary evidence in place so you can apply if you are asked to do so.

Hay fever – for the latest guidance relating to medications for hay fever, see the Resources area.

Asthma – for further guidance on TUEs for asthma, see the Resources area.

In the event of an emergency, where an athlete needs to receive a prohibited substance or method immediately, without waiting until their application has been considered by the relevant organisation - they will need to apply for an emergency TUE as soon as possible after their use of the medication. Find out more in our TUE section.