Athlete health is important. It is a founding principle of, and rationale for, the WAD Code.

If an athlete is ill and they need to take medication, they must seek advice from a doctor or medical professional familiar with the Anti-Doping Rules and the Prohibited List.

In some cases, an athlete may need to use a prohibited substance or method if there are no other permitted medications or treatments they can use. They will need to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

The facts - what you need to know about TUEs

Therapeutic Use Exemptions normally need to be applied for in advance of the treatment and will only be considered with detailed medical evidence and support/signatures from a doctor or qualified medical personnel.

  • UK Anti-Doping has no authority to grant a TUE. TUEs are approved by an independent panel of three qualified medical personnel.
  • TUEs that are approved will last for a specific time period. An athlete needing to continue treatment will need to apply again for a TUE.
  • National-level athletes need to apply to UKAD for their TUEs. International-level athletes need to apply to their International Federation for their TUE.

Please note the WAD Code states that for a TUE to be approved it must meet the following criteria:

  • The use of the prohibited substance or method is essential for an athlete’s health
  • Use of the substance or method will not enhance performance or function beyond that which is normal
  • There is no reasonable alternative that is not prohibited
What that means for you

Don’t panic if you are an athlete who is ill. This happens.

What you must do is make sure those you seek treatment from understand the Anti-Doping Rules - so you are not at risk.

Don’t forget that you can check the status of any medication bought in the UK on Global DRO to see if it contains any banned substance or not.

If you have some specific conditions, such as asthma, you may need to have a lung-function test to determine the severity of your condition. Equally, if you have been diagnosed with ADHD, there is a special TUE process you need to go through.

What you should do

Tell your doctor and any other medical professionals that you are an athlete and that you must apply

  1. Make sure you keep an eye on the levels in your sport at which you would need a TUE as they can change
  2. If you have a TUE, you should keep a copy of your TUE certificate in your kitbag
  3. Remember that TUEs do not last forever – do not get caught out by an expired TUE certificate
Where to go for further advice

Visit the TUE requirements page for further information and importantly the competition levels in all sports where TUEs must be applied for in advance.

Also contact your National Governing Body for further advice and guidance.

Or email UKAD for any specific queries on substances at substanceenquires@ukad.org.uk.

TUE Search