The Reasons Why Trimetazidine Is Banned At The Olympics

Trimetazidine also referred to as TMZ is a drug that is used to treat or prevent angina attacks (chest pain caused by a reduction in blood flow to your heart) and other heart-related problems. This works by improving blood flow to your heart and reducing blood pressure spikes.

In December, Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, a gold medal favourite in the women’s individual competition, tested positive for trimetazidine at the Russian national championships. Valieva will be allowed to compete in the 2022 Olympics, according to a panel jointly organized by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, due to her status as a “protected person” under the age of 16 as well as the “serious issues” surrounding the duration of the positive result notification.


Michael Joyner, MD, a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist and expert in human performance, stated, “The drug can end up making your heart more efficient, decrease the oxygen consumption of your heart, and potentially trigger less stress on your heart.” “It might help patients with heart failure or blockages in their coronary arteries.”

According to the European Medicines Agency, the drug has also been used to treat vertigo (dizziness and a spinning sensation), tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and reduced visual or vision disturbances. The drug should not be given to patients who have vertigo or tinnitus, according to current recommendations. In patients with angina, it can only be used as a symptomatic treatment or as a supplement (chest pains).

Sun Yang, a Chinese swimmer and five-time Olympic gold medalist, was the highest-profile confirmed user of trimetazidine until Valieva’s positive test. Sun was suspended for three months in 2014 for using trimetazidine, which he claimed was for angina-related chest symptoms. Sun is presently serving a four-year ban for violating anti-doping rules in a separate case.

However, just one competitor has been formally suspended for a positive doping test at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, while Valieva’s case is still pending. Hossein Saveh Shemshaki, an Iranian skier who tested positive for an anabolic steroid before competing on Feb. 7, has been “eliminated from competing, training, coaching, or participating in any activity” at the Olympics, according to the International Testing Association.

What Are The Possible Side Effects of Trimetazidine?

Some of the possible side effects of trimetazidine include vomiting, headaches, gastrointestinal discomfort, weakness, tremors, Parkinson’s disease, and rashes.

Why is Trimetazidine Banned?

Since 2014, trimetazidine has been listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances. Trimetazidine, unlike some of the other banned drugs, does not immediately increase users’ physical strength and energy. Nevertheless, the drug enhances the heart’s overall effectiveness, which may enable an athlete to train harder and for longer periods of time, providing them with a strategic advantage in future competitions.

Joyner said that the drug could possibly affect skeletal muscle or heart function by influencing metabolism. This type of endurance improvement is essential for athletic performance.

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