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How you can avoid testing false-positive in a dope test

Athletes should carefully choose their medicines, and what and where they eat. Moreover, using ordinary or substandard supplements escalates the risk of failing a dope test.

Dr Saranjeet Singh

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Doping is a practice when athletes consume illegal substances to enhance their performance.

Several times sportspersons test positive in dope tests despite not using any performance-enhancement drug. Nonetheless, it is necessary for them to know about the ‘false positives’, which in other words means failing the dope test.

There are myriad reasons for ‘false-positives’ which sportspersons must know so that they can be watchful and protect themselves from failing the dope tests. Some of the reasons are as follows:

1. In case of any injury, the sportspersons should use only those painkillers which have been prescribed by the team doctor only. If medicines like Ibuprofen (Brufen) are used in excess then the dope test can reveal the presence of the banned drug called Tetrahydrocannabinol. Similarly, if medicines for cold, fever, and diet pills are used then the presence of banned drug Amphetamine can be detected. The presence of banned drugs like heroin and cocaine can be detected if some types of antibiotics like amoxicillin are taken. In addition to this, medicines for ulcers can also affect the doping test and false positive can be reported. Certain drugs like novocaine being used for dentistry can lead to tests finding the presence of cocaine.

2. The sportspersons should make it a point to have their meals in their camps only during the competition. Sometimes poppy seeds are used in making pastries and cake and this can result in dope tests detecting the presence of banned drug morphine. Similarly, nonvegetarian foods should be used carefully. What happens is that the drugs given to animals for their fast growth may be found in the body of the sportspersons and as a result of this, they fail the test.

3. Like food, the sportspersons should be careful while taking food supplements. The food supplements approved and certified by FSSAI and FDI should be used. Banned drugs are mixed in substandard and poorquality food supplements to enhance the performance of sportspersons as quickly as possible. This also puts them into trouble as they fail the dope test due to the presence of banned drugs.   There are certain food supplements in which “Orchic extract” from cattle testicles is mixed, using which may show the presence of anabolic steroids during the test. Similarly, colostrum extracted from cow milk which is also called “white gold” is mixed in some supplements, using which the result of banned ‘growth hormones’ is detected, leading to the sportspersons failing the dope test despite being innocent.

 4. The sportspersons should not use alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine before the test otherwise the possibility of falsepositive results will be higher.

5. Moreover, the possibility of women failing the dope test could be higher due to their menstrual cycle irregularity and the use of contraceptive pills.

 6. Apart from all this, sample mishandling could also be another reason behind the false positives. If samples of the sportspersons get affected by bacteria or the samples could not be maintained properly then their PH value changes. In both cases, the possibility of false-positive results will be higher.

If athletes keep all these facts in mind, then they can avoid being in trouble due to false-positive results of the dope test. The innocent sportspersons should be made aware of all these facts to save them from falling victim to false cases of doping.

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