Doping and musculoskeletal system: short-term and long-lasting effects of doping agents

Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2011 Oct;25(5):535-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-8206.2010.00881.x. Epub 2010 Oct 6.


Doping is a problem that has plagued the world of competition and sports for ages. Even before the dawn of Olympic history in ancient Greece, competitors have looked for artificial means to improve athletic performance. Since ancient times, athletes have attempted to gain an unfair competitive advantage through the use of doping substances. A Prohibited List of doping substances and methods banned in sports is published yearly by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Among the substances included are steroidal and peptide hormones and their modulators, stimulants, glucocorticosteroids, β₂-agonists, diuretics and masking agents, narcotics, and cannabinoids. Blood doping, tampering, infusions, and gene doping are examples of prohibited methods indicated on the List. Apart from the unethical aspect of doping, as it abrogates fair-play's principle, it is extremely important to consider the hazards it presents to the health and well-being of athletes. The referred negative effects for the athlete's health have to do, on the one hand, by the high doses of the performance-enhancing agents and on the other hand, by the relentless, superhuman strict training that the elite or amateur athletes put their muscles, bones, and joints. The purpose of this article is to highlight the early and the long-lasting consequences of the doping abuse on bone and muscle metabolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Doping in Sports / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances / metabolism
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances / pharmacology*
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances / toxicity
  • Sports / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Substance Abuse Detection*
  • Time Factors


  • Performance-Enhancing Substances