July 11, 2004
A prescription for what?
Procycling has a story quoting the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche (henceforth JDD), which got its hands on the drug submissions of the Tour teams.
Before the Tour, every team is supposed to present a list of all prescription and non-prescription medicines being used by its riders. According to JDD, the average team from outside of France reported 80 different products.
Reassuringly, none of the products declared to the AFSSAP is categorically banned at the Tour. Less comforting is the news that, in addition to familiar household medicines like paracetamol, antihistamine and vitamins, the AFSSAP received and approved requests for ‘heavy’ products whose conventional application is difficult to reconcile with the needs of an endurance athlete. Fructose diphosphate, a treatment for respiratory disorders, various diuretics, coronary dilators and products for the detoxification of the liver belong firmly in the latter category.
One of the more interesting declared prescriptions was for pentoxifylline which, according to its website, "is used to improve blood flow in patients with circulation problems to reduce aching, cramping, and tiredness in the hands and feet. It works by decreasing the thickness (viscosity) of blood. This change allows your blood to flow more easily, especially in the small blood vessels of the hands and feet."
One team declared 155 products.
A doctor for fdjeux.com said he would expect "around 30 products, no more ... Nothing justifies such an arsenal of products."
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