Banned Substances and Methods

Banned substances and methods are placed into categories based on their effect or application (e.g., steroids (anabolic agents), stimulants, gene doping) and can be prohibited in-competition, out-of-competition, or in particular sports.

See the Prohibited List for full information.

Substances prohibited at all times (in- and out-of-competition)

Non-approved substances (S0)

Any pharmacological substance which is not addressed by any of the subsequent sections of the List and with no current approval by any governmental regulatory health authority for human therapeutic use (e.g., drugs under pre-clinical or clinical development or discontinued, designer drugs, substances approved only for veterinary use) is prohibited at all times.

Anabolic agents (S1)

This class of substances includes anabolic androgenic steroids such as nandrolone, testosterone and androstenedione. It also includes other anabolic agents such as clenbuterol and selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs).

Peptide hormones, growth factors, related substances, and mimetics (S2)

This class includes substances like erythropoietin (EPO), Chorionic Gonadotrophin (CG) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in males, human growth hormone, and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) stabilizers and activators, such as argon and xenon. 

Beta-2 agonists (S3)

Some beta-2 agonists commonly prescribed for the treatment of asthma, are prohibited in sport. The inhaled beta-2 agonist terbutaline requires a medical exemption.

Beta-2 agonists administered by any route other than inhalation are prohibited in sport and require a medical exemption. 

Hormone and metabolic modulators (S4)

These drugs interfere with the function of various hormones and are often used in the treatment of diabetes and cancer. This category is broken down into five sections: aromatase inhibitors, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), other anti-estrogenic substances, agents modifying myostatin function(s) and metabolic modulators.  Examples of substances in this class include tamoxifen and clomiphene.

Diuretics and masking agents (S5)

Masking agents are prohibited, including desmopressin and plasma expanders. Prohibited diuretics include hydrochlorothiazide, triamterene, but not drosperinone or topical dorzolamide.

Reminder! The use in- and out-of-competition, as applicable, of any quantity of a substance subject to threshold limits (i.e., formoterol, salbutamol, cathine, ephedrine, methylephedrine and pseudoephedrine) in conjunction with a diuretic or other masking agent requires a specific medical exemption for that substance in addition to the one granted for the diuretic or other masking agent.

Substances prohibited in-competition

Stimulants (S6)

All stimulants are prohibited, including all optical isomers (e.g. d- and l-) where relevant, but excluding imidazole derivatives for topical use. This category is divided into two groups: non- specified and specified. Specified substances refer to those that are subject to inadvertent doping.

Reminder! Prohibited stimulants are frequently found in supplements!  Read our advisory note.

Narcotics (S7)

Only certain narcotics are prohibited such as fentanyl, morphine, and oxycodone.

Cannabinoids (S8)

Natural (e.g., cannabis, hashish, marijuana) or synthetic delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabimimetics (e.g., “Spice”, JWH018, JWH073, HU-210) are prohibited.

Glucocorticoids (S9)

All glucocorticoids are prohibited when administered by oral, intravenous, intramuscular or rectal routes and require a medical exemption.

Substances prohibited in particular sports

Alcohol (P1)

Alcohol (ethanol) is prohibited in-competition only, in certain sports including archery and karate. The doping violation threshold is 0.10 g/L.

Beta-blockers (P2)

Unless otherwise specified, beta-blockers are prohibited in-competition only, in certain sports (e.g., archery, shooting and golf). 

Methods prohibited at all times (in- and out-of-competition)

Manipulation of blood and blood components (M1)

This category refers to blood doping, including the administration or reintroduction of blood or red blood cell products of any origin. It also includes artificially enhancing the uptake, transport or delivery of oxygen and intravascular manipulation of blood or blood components.

Chemical and physical manipulation (M2)

Tampering, or attempting to tamper, in order to alter the integrity and validity of samples collected during doping controls is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to urine substitution and/or alteration. Intravenous infusions and/or injections of more than 50 mL per six-hour period are prohibited except for those legitimately received in the course of hospital admissions, clinical investigations, or surgical procedures.

Gene doping (M3)

The transfer of polymers of nucleic acids or nucleic acid analogues and the use of normal or genetically modified cells are prohibited.


Athletes who need to take a banned medication for a legitimate medical reason may require a medical exemption. Try our Medical Exemption Wizard.

See Also...

WADA Prohibited List

Maintained by the World Anti-Doping Agency

WADA Dangers of Doping Brochure

Maintained by the World Anti-Doping Agency

Health Canada MedEffect

Provides consumers, patients, and health professionals with easy access to adverse reactions, side effects and safety...