Meldonium long-term excretion period and pharmacokinetics in blood and urine of healthy athlete volunteers

Drug Test Anal. 2019 Apr;11(4):554-566. doi: 10.1002/dta.2521. Epub 2018 Nov 12.


Meldonium is a metabolic drug whose inclusion in the 2016 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods followed the analysis of data collected under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Agency Monitoring Program. In the early months of 2016, anti-doping laboratories reported an unusually high number of cases in which urine samples contained high concentrations of meldonium. Consequently, the meldonium excretion period in healthy athletes and the substance's long-term urine and blood (plasma) pharmacokinetics became central questions for the anti-doping community to address, to ensure appropriate assessment of the scientific and medical situation, and also fair treatment of athletes from a result management and legal standpoint. At the present time, data on meldonium pharmacokinetics is limited to a few studies, with no known data available on long-term excretion of high oral doses. The primary objective of this open-label study was to determine long-term urine and plasma pharmacokinetic parameters of meldonium in healthy volunteers. Study design included single and repeated functional load testing and assessment of L-carnitine administration on meldonium excretion and pharmacokinetics. Thirty-two volunteers were equally divided into two groups receiving either 1.0 g or 2.0 g of oral meldonium daily for 3 weeks. The study found meldonium takes several days to attain a steady state in blood and displays an elimination period over several months after cessation of treatment. Moreover, findings demonstrate that the daily dose, periodicity and duration of treatment with meldonium are the most important factors to consider in calculating the substance's elimination and complete body clearance.

Keywords: blood plasma; excretion; meldonium; pharmacokinetics; urine.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Athletes
  • Cardiovascular Agents / administration & dosage
  • Cardiovascular Agents / blood*
  • Cardiovascular Agents / urine*
  • Doping in Sports
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylhydrazines / administration & dosage
  • Methylhydrazines / blood*
  • Methylhydrazines / urine*
  • Substance Abuse Detection
  • Young Adult


  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Methylhydrazines
  • 3-(2,2,2-trimethylhydrazine)propionate