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Actovegin...

Mar 4, 2010
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A russian XC skier was recently caught by the swiss border police in possession of actovegin and some kind of IV equipment (perhaps transfusion equipment?). He now runs the risk of being suspeded for two years despite actovegin not being a banned substance. This raises two questions in my mind.

1) Why is the use of actovegin considered an anti-doping violation if WADA knows about it but have decided not to put it on the list of banned substances?

2) What does it do? Why do athletes use it.

I believe it was administered by Dr. Galea so it isn't only used by endurance athletes.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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Tyler'sTwin said:
A russian XC skier was recently caught by the swiss border police in possession of actovegin and some kind of IV equipment (perhaps transfusion equipment?). He now runs the risk of being suspeded for two years despite actovegin not being a banned substance. This raises two questions in my mind.

1) Why is the use of actovegin considered an anti-doping violation if WADA knows about it but have decided not to put it on the list of banned substances?

2) What does it do? Why do athletes use it.

I believe it was administered by Dr. Galea so it isn't only used by endurance athletes.
A quick Google search would have told you that Actovegin is a substance that boosts the bloods oxygen carrying capacity. As such its use is prohibited as it is a performance enhancing method.
 
May 19, 2010
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Tyler'sTwin said:
A russian XC skier was recently caught by the swiss border police in possession of actovegin and some kind of IV equipment (perhaps transfusion equipment?). He now runs the risk of being suspeded for two years despite actovegin not being a banned substance. This raises two questions in my mind.

1) Why is the use of actovegin considered an anti-doping violation if WADA knows about it but have decided not to put it on the list of banned substances?

2) What does it do? Why do athletes use it.

I believe it was administered by Dr. Galea so it isn't only used by endurance athletes.

Didn't see your thread, started another, sorry.
According to fastskier.com:
1) It is the combination of the iv equipment and the drug that is suspisious.
2) "Some experts say it can be used to increase the effectiveness of blood doping, as well as to speed recovery from injuries, although others are more skeptical about its potential benefits. Its use is illegal in the United States."

http://fasterskier.com/2010/09/russian-skier-detained-at-swiss-border-faces-two-year-ban/
 
Jul 29, 2010
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There is really only one thing we all need to know about Actovegin:

Lance does not know what it is. Really. Although it may have been found in Postal's TdF trash in 2000 or 2001, the Yellow One does not even know how to PRONOUNCE it. When questioned, he called it "Acto-o-whatever". :rolleyes:
 
I think Actovegin would fall into the "marginal gains" category, if Team Sky's abortive 2010-approach to "winning" (cough cough) was applied to doping.

Having used Actovegin countless and innumerable times (via IV administration) I can definitively say that - one really can't perceive a performance gain or recovery enhancement that can be attributed to it, like you can, on the other hand, with EPO.

Not to say that it might not be doing something - and it was that possibility that kept me using it for five years - but it's one of those products to add to the kit when you've perfected your EPO, your GH, your anabolics, your corticoids, your blah blah blah.
 

Dr. Maserati

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Jesus Manzano referred to Actovegin as "gas bus" because it gave a significant boost over a short period.

Actovegin, another animal product, is essentially the plasma of a young calf. Manzano noted that the product he used was came from Germany and was quite expensive, referred to in cycling as the "gas bus", meaning it was used for particularly difficult races or stages. Actovegin is said to oxygenate the blood and provide a significant boost in power over a short time.

"In the short time trials it was used in the morning, but for difficult stages where there would be a lot of attacks, it was injected the previous day," Manzano explained. "When preparing for a time trial the 'gas bus' is combined with bicarbonate, lactic acid, and a brand of caffeine that is injected in the buttocks, which by the way, really hurts."
From the 2004 CN article Manzano's laundry list.
 
Mar 4, 2010
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ultimobici said:
A quick Google search would have told you that Actovegin is a substance that boosts the bloods oxygen carrying capacity. As such its use is prohibited as it is a performance enhancing method.

I haven't seen anything that suggests it boosts the bloods O2 carrying capacity. How would it do that exactly? Then why isn't it on the list of banned substances?

neineinei said:
Didn't see your thread, started another, sorry.
According to fastskier.com:
1) It is the combination of the iv equipment and the drug that is suspisious.

2) "Some experts say it can be used to increase the effectiveness of blood doping, as well as to speed recovery from injuries, although others are more skeptical about its potential benefits. Its use is illegal in the United States."

http://fasterskier.com/2010/09/russian-skier-detained-at-swiss-border-faces-two-year-ban/

1) Okay, that makes more sense... I guess.

2) Any theories on how it would increase the effectiveness of blood doping? Well, that explains why it was a part of Galea's treatment.

joe_papp said:
I think Actovegin would fall into the "marginal gains" category, if Team Sky's abortive 2010-approach to "winning" (cough cough) was applied to doping.

Having used Actovegin countless and innumerable times (via IV administration) I can definitively say that - ... - one really can't perceive a performance gain or recovery enhancement that can be attributed to it, like you can with EPO.

Not to say that it might not be doing something - and it was that possibility that kept me using it four five years - but it's one of those products to add to the kit when you've perfected your EPO, your GH, your anabolics, your corticoids, your blah blah blah.

Thank you! It's nice to hear from someone with experience of the drug in question. So the IV equipment was probably used to administer the actovegin rather than transfusing blood (a russian going to Switzerland with transfusion equipment would have been interesting)?

Just out of curiosity, what did GH do for you? Speed up recovery?
 
Mar 8, 2010
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Tyler'sTwin said:
A russian XC skier was recently caught by the swiss border police in possession of actovegin and some kind of IV equipment (perhaps transfusion equipment?). He now runs the risk of being suspeded for two years despite actovegin not being a banned substance. This raises two questions in my mind.

1) Why is the use of actovegin considered an anti-doping violation if WADA knows about it but have decided not to put it on the list of banned substances?

2) What does it do? Why do athletes use it.

I believe it was administered by Dr. Galea so it isn't only used by endurance athletes.

It is banned/forbidden, but only when you use it intravenously.
It is completly forbidden/no more used in some countries.
Wide spread and often used in soccer (injured players) for example, too.

2. listen to Joe :D
 
Mar 4, 2010
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Cobblestoned said:
It is banned/forbidden, but only when you use it intravenously.
It is completly forbidden/no more used in some countries.
Wide spread and often used in soccer (injured players) for example, too.

2. listen to Joe :D

Ok thanks. That answers the first question.

I still don't understand how a product that is "essentially the plasma of a young calf" oxygenates the blood.
 
Tyler'sTwin said:
Ok thanks. That answers the first question.

I still don't understand how a product that is "essentially the plasma of a young calf" oxygenates the blood.

That's the thing - it really doesn't oxygenate the blood. If you use it and think it does and perform better as a result, it's probably the placebo effect.

The stuff that works - actually works - w/ the blood: EPO/NESP/etc., TRANSFUSIONS, PFC/Perftoran, Hemassist (don't think it's around any more), Hemopure, Oxyglobin, and various others.

All that said, Actovegin from Western European firm NYCOMED was VERY expensive at the time (http://www.nycomed.com/products/further-therapies/actovegin). Now cheaper Russian version is available, and with the opening of additional distribution networks via the Internet, it's come down in price.
 
Tyler'sTwin said:
Just out of curiosity, what did GH do for you? Speed up recovery?

Speed/enhance recovery and creates the perception of significantly increased muscle strength; also improved body composition and created an enhanced feeling of well-being and overall health.

(Anecdote: I celebrated my 30th and 31st birthdays in Italy. For the 30th, I distinctly remember sitting in my friend's house in Genova, overlooking the water, celebrating with them after a great meal and blowing out the candles on my birthday cake - and thinking to myself, "I don't feel a day over 19! Aging isn't so bad! I've even got the libido of a 16 year-old!" It wasn't until I stopped doping and my body began to return to natural equilibrium that I realized just how powerful doping products are - I no longer had that libido, viagra suddenly made sense for something other than enhancing performance in bike races [yes, in Europe we doped with Viagra for races], my joints creaked and cracked, I actually needed to sleep 8 hours/night just to function the next day, I couldn't eat like a horse and still lose weight...in short, actually aging! It sucked! lol. No wonder masters age-group athletes dope so much.)

Simple way to look at doping and the effectiveness of various drugs - for the most part, if you can buy it at GNC, it doesn't work. If you have to inject it, if it's explicitly on the banned-list, if people have died from using it or gone to jail for possessing it - then it usually works.

Unfortunate truth...
 

Polish

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Does anyone know if the skier suffered an injury?

Maybe the skier was using actovegin for the same reason Tiger Woods was.
Combined with Blood Spinning, it helps speeds recovery from injuries.
At least that is what Tiger Wood's Canadian Doctor was using it for. Believe the procedure is Legal in the Canadian Football League.
 

flicker

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joe_papp said:
Speed/enhance recovery and creates the perception of significantly increased muscle strength; also improved body composition and created an enhanced feeling of well-being and overall health.

(Anecdote: I celebrated my 30th and 31st birthdays in Italy. For the 30th, I distinctly remember sitting in my friend's house in Genova, overlooking the water, celebrating with them after a great meal and blowing out the candles on my birthday cake - and thinking to myself, "I don't feel a day over 19! Aging isn't so bad! I've even got the libido of a 16 year-old!" It wasn't until I stopped doping and my body began to return to natural equilibrium that I realized just how powerful doping products are - I no longer had that libido, viagra suddenly made sense for something other than enhancing performance in bike races [yes, in Europe we doped with Viagra for races], my joints creaked and cracked, I actually needed to sleep 8 hours/night just to function the next day, I couldn't eat like a horse and still lose weight...in short, actually aging! It sucked! lol. No wonder masters age-group athletes dope so much.)

Simple way to look at doping and the effectiveness of various drugs - for the most part, if you can buy it at GNC, it doesn't work. If you have to inject it, if it's explicitly on the banned-list, if people have died from using it or gone to jail for possessing it - then it usually works.

Unfortunate truth...

Jesus wept!
 
joe_papp said:
I think Actovegin would fall into the "marginal gains" category, if Team Sky's abortive 2010-approach to "winning" (cough cough) was applied to doping.

Having used Actovegin countless and innumerable times (via IV administration) I can definitively say that - one really can't perceive a performance gain or recovery enhancement that can be attributed to it, like you can, on the other hand, with EPO.

Not to say that it might not be doing something - and it was that possibility that kept me using it for five years - but it's one of those products to add to the kit when you've perfected your EPO, your GH, your anabolics, your corticoids, your blah blah blah.

This is why its really good to have Joe Papp on this forum. Who needs wild speculation and wikipedia when you can read 1st hand research.
 
Jul 29, 2010
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joe_papp said:
The stuff that works - actually works - w/ the blood: EPO/NESP/etc., TRANSFUSIONS, PFC/Perftoran...

Joe, can you explain the PFC's (perflourocarbon). I know Petacchi is accused of using this stuff.

As a XC skier, all I know is that PFC is in the uber-expensive race wax...and I'm not supposed to breathe it into my lungs while ironing it in. How is this substance then used as a doping agent in cycling? How ingested??
 
PFC's, circa 1998

NashbarShorts said:
Joe, can you explain the PFC's (perflourocarbon). I know Petacchi is accused of using this stuff.

As a XC skier, all I know is that PFC is in the uber-expensive race wax...and I'm not supposed to breathe it into my lungs while ironing it in. How is this substance then used as a doping agent in cycling? How ingested??


PFC was on the radar of the UCI 12 years ago. Start with this article from the NY Times, originally published in 1998:

http://www.nytimes.com/1998/10/18/sports/a-new-threat-in-blood-doping.html
 
Sep 25, 2009
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joe_papp said:
PFC was on the radar of the UCI 12 years ago. Start with this article from the NY Times, originally published in 1998:

http://www.nytimes.com/1998/10/18/sports/a-new-threat-in-blood-doping.html
''We will not inject ourselves with this stuff,'' Ayotte said. ''No way. I am too frightened of this.''

bottom line, it's one of those really dangerous chemicals that makes it's rounds in doping circles like some aa steroids previously used (on cattle or horses), modified for humans by underground, forgotten and making a re-entry.

btw, it's easily detectable... if the screening test targets the pfc molecule among the 400+ other molecules. not guarantee even now.
 
joe_papp said:
Not to say that it might not be doing something - and it was that possibility that kept me using it for five years - but it's one of those products to add to the kit when you've perfected your EPO, your GH, your anabolics, your corticoids, your blah blah blah.

Joe, not that I don't know dopers sometimes take the weirdest things and that many "doping products" are more about an unfounded, mythical value - but when you even take stuff you don't really feel does anything to you while at the same time risking both being caught and any unknown adverse side effect, you're really, really taking chances, aren't you? Is it simply because you know other people take it and if you don't, you're afraid you'd lose out on a possible benefit?

joe_papp said:
...thinking to myself, "I don't feel a day over 19! Aging isn't so bad! I've even got the libido of a 16 year-old!" It wasn't until I stopped doping and my body began to return to natural equilibrium that I realized just how powerful doping products are - I no longer had that libido, viagra suddenly made sense for something other than enhancing performance in bike races [yes, in Europe we doped with Viagra for races], my joints creaked and cracked, I actually needed to sleep 8 hours/night just to function the next day, I couldn't eat like a horse and still lose weight...in short, actually aging! It sucked! lol. No wonder masters age-group athletes dope so much.)

I guess when you start doping it's all about improving on the bike - but I've often wondered if the accompanying sense of invincibility in the end makes you less of a professional and here you describe exactly that! Did you take the "proper, professional" lifestyle less and less serious as you doped more/longer? And do you think you thereby actually lost some of the gain from the drugs by living larger?
 
Jul 29, 2010
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joe_papp said:
PFC was on the radar of the UCI 12 years ago. Start with this article from the NY Times, originally published in 1998:

Thanks for the link. Interesting reading. Its used in ski wax to reduce friction b/w ski and snow and when conditions call for it, you really can't beat someone who's using it. But to get it to adhere to the ski, you have to iron it on at high temp, which causes smoking and apparently really bad if your'e not wearing a respirator.

"PFCs were considered ideal additives for ski wax because they are water repellent and have low friction coefficients. However, it has now been shown that their risks far outweigh their benefits. PFCs break down into perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a man-made chemical which has been shown to cause cancer, birth defects, and organ damage in laboratory animals."

Damn.

Joe, another question... at the height of your usage, do you have any guesstimate of what percentage of your annual wages you then spent on doping products? Did it ever seem like it was getting too expensive, or was it just "gotta pay to play" type situation? Thanks.
 
Aug 12, 2010
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really informative thread!

I really appreciate Joe's honesty. This thread prompted me to re-read the Cycling News articles circa 2004 re. Jesus Manzano...I laughed at the wholesale denials and outrage of E. Fuentes, Bjarne Riis, UCI, Lance et al. History has shown that most whistle blowers of the last several years in sports have been proven correct, despite some casting aspirations on their motives. Manzano was disgruntled, but he was correct about things, just like Jose Canseco in baseball. The parallels to Floyd are there to see.

The really scary stuff is the medications designed for horses and cattle. At what cost victory...or even keeping up as a domestique?
 
NashbarShorts said:
Joe, another question... at the height of your usage, do you have any guesstimate of what percentage of your annual wages you then spent on doping products? Did it ever seem like it was getting too expensive, or was it just "gotta pay to play" type situation? Thanks.

For various reasons I'd like to avoid publicizing how much money I made through cycling. But I can say that one could spend as little a few hundred dollars per month on doping products, to a few thousand - not including the cost of transfusions and support personnel to carry them out.

In an ideal situation, the rider's team is paying for or providing the doping products, relieving the athlete of those costs - because, as you imply, the team considers the expense of the doping products to be basically a fixed cost that they'll have to pay regardless of who it is that is on the roster.

That's back in the first half of the decade though. Things are obviously not as cavalier now.

Cheers,

JP

[NOTE: When I said "ideal" above, I meant from the perspective of the doper - not society's general perspective...]
 
mouse breathing perfluorocarbon

NashbarShorts said:
Thanks for the link. Interesting reading.
"PFCs were considered ideal additives for ski wax because they are water repellent ."

QUOTE]
If you like that, you should also like this
http://biomed.brown.edu/Courses/BI108/BI108_2005_Groups/10/webpages/PFClink.htm

Don't you think that the picture of the mouse at the bottom of the page happily breathing liquid PFC is just so cute?

I guess you are young or else you would have remembered that mouse, it appeared in many magazine about 15 years ago. A few years after there were also a number of articles about related kidney failures and so on (people given PFC in tests because they objected to transfusion, unlike Vino and others).
As I remember it, in April or May 1998, i.e. just before Gianetti narrowly escaped death by PFC, there was an article in the Scientific American about blood substitutes, so that when the UCI issued its warning following Gianetti's accident I immediately tied together all those pieces of information i.e. SciAm-Gianetti-UCI.
(I really enjoyed the end of NY times article quoting Gianetti as taking PFC "à l'insu de son plein gré").

Then there was the miraculous resurrection of De Las Cuevas around the same period, winning the Route du Sud then the Dauphiné. Since it was well known he had tried all the drugs in the books, I assumed he was on something new. I was laughing while watching him on the TV. I guess it was PFC that was percolating through his skin, not just sweat. Considering he had survived all the other stuff he had absorbed without dying from it, it only make sense that he would have done better than Gianetti on PFC.

As Python said, PFC doping should be extremely easy to detect, it just oozes out of the body, so that you just let the guy in a room with a gas chromatographer and you get the signature.
 
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joe_papp said:
For various reasons I'd like to avoid publicizing how much money I made through cycling...

Fair enough. Even several $100/month seems steep to me. That's the equivalent of a car payment each month, in a sport where most athletes are quite underpaid.

That lab rat breathing liquid PFC -- that's straight out of "The Abyss"...
 

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