The moral dillema

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Anonymous

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Something for discussion and I bring this up as it may or may not be something that becomes a question for me at some point.

As a lot of people know I suffer anxiety etc, and im finally being tested for thyroid and testosterone which should have happened 18 months ago. I am also being tested for anemia as a lot of problems i encounter point to me being anemic, problems with circulation especially in the knees etc, muscle problems, and also the fact that there are times i get far more tired than I should do. SHould i turn out to be anemic which the doctors consider is highly possible then obviously i will be prescriped some form of medication.

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So, hypothetically you turn out to be anemic and are prescribed medication (for which you obtain a tue) that will increase your red blood cell count.

How comfortable do you feel about competing whilst also taking what is effectively a performance enhancing drug?

Personally my gut is that whilst on medication i wouldnt be comfortable doing so. However much the drugs were there to take me from a low level to what is considered a "normal" level it would still feel like cheating. How would I feel competing against someone that i later discovered had a tue for a substance that increased their ability to compete.

Dilemma...
 
As a professional I can see the dilemma, Boardman said no didn't he.

As a recreational competitor there is no dilemma, you do what's best for your health, and other recreational competitors should not despise you because you're looking after yourself.
 
Apr 1, 2009
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You have to go with your health man. I wouldnt have a hesitation at all. I can understand the worry though. Your health is your wealth.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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I suffer(ed) from anxiety and during my time racing at nat elite level I experienced first hand how this dehabilitating condition can screw up a bike race.

wasting energy with nervousness prior to a race, difficulties sleeping and eating, and my own unique speciality was the exhaustion and general unpleasant feelings after a tough race could get me hyperventilating and heart racing.

If you're competing, and they let you have a TUE (having taken into account your condition and the effects of the medication) then you are legal and moral to compete as far as I am concerned.

A valid and approved TUE (not farcical ones, or backdated ones) might be as close to "levelling the playing field" as drug taking gets.
 

flicker

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Aug 17, 2009
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In California we have the green herb. The medicine from god. With that we eat a little road kill tar tar. I do not think a TUE is required.
 
A

Anonymous

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Mongol_Waaijer said:
If you're competing, and they let you have a TUE (having taken into account your condition and the effects of the medication) then you are legal and moral to compete as far as I am concerned.

A valid and approved TUE (not farcical ones, or backdated ones) might be as close to "levelling the playing field" as drug taking gets.
And this is where the dilemma comes in, it depends what you class as a normal competative level. For the last two years riding with other riders, i have good days when i can take some really good riders to pieces on training runs, i have days where i struggle to keep pace with my wife going up a hill. But if medication means that all the days are good days and the crap days dissapear then, I dont know. Thats where i have the moral problem.

I know that there is nothing wrong with it, and its not just about me, im sure this situation comes up thousands of times with different individuals. Maybe its just something about my character that thinks even valid medication is cheating in some small way.

I have a whole batch of blood tests on friday. First cross race for me of the season looks like sunday. I dont care if i finish last one sunday to be honest, its all just fun for me, but if i do, and if the test results come in and im prescribed some form of medication, and then in a months time i go out, race and come tenth.. can i reconcile that. I think actually probably i can, on the basis that ive been competing at an unfair disadvantage.

but its still interesting.
 

mastersracer

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Jun 8, 2010
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you're missing the entire point of a TUE - it is to allow a medication that is required to help return some parameter to within 'normal' range, not to enhance performance. If you're anemic and some medication elevates your hematocrit to say 43%, you're not gaining an unfair advantage. Even if you're a non-national level athlete you should look into whether you need a TUE.
 
I don't see a dilemma. Do what is best for your health. Just don't go over what the Doctor prescribed. The 50% hct limit is too much. The Doctor will probably tell you what the normal levels should be (~43%). Is the same issue with Beloki, Pereiro, etc, with their Asthma. They take too much and go over the limit.

If it is for recreational then there is no reason to over do it at all. Just my 2 cents.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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TeamSkyFans said:
Something for discussion and I bring this up as it may or may not be something that becomes a question for me at some point.

As a lot of people know I suffer anxiety etc, and im finally being tested for thyroid and testosterone which should have happened 18 months ago. I am also being tested for anemia as a lot of problems i encounter point to me being anemic, problems with circulation especially in the knees etc, muscle problems, and also the fact that there are times i get far more tired than I should do. SHould i turn out to be anemic which the doctors consider is highly possible then obviously i will be prescriped some form of medication.

---------------------------------------------------
So, hypothetically you turn out to be anemic and are prescribed medication (for which you obtain a tue) that will increase your red blood cell count.

How comfortable do you feel about competing whilst also taking what is effectively a performance enhancing drug?

Personally my gut is that whilst on medication i wouldnt be comfortable doing so. However much the drugs were there to take me from a low level to what is considered a "normal" level it would still feel like cheating. How would I feel competing against someone that i later discovered had a tue for a substance that increased their ability to compete.

Dilemma...
I feel for your condition and have seasonal issues of my own. Having said that I have started to harden on the subject of TUEs. While medication is justified for your health, and that should be your primary concern; the justifications offered up by some on this forum and doctors in general bother me. There should be no "equalization" based on a genetic disorder if we don't want to enter the gray zones for PED use. I read some time back that the pro peloton looks like a disease ward based on the number of supposed asthmatics and that blood profiles indicate near-toxic levels of iron supplementation, suggesting a whole laundry list of possible abuses.

I say this knowing my problem only surfaces during early season racing. I quit taking the medications because I could live fine without them. My racing suffers but that is something I can deal with. Your condition is much more serious and I would leave it to you to solve as you have already taken the moral issues into account. I would feel fine racing with you.
Pros should not have the same allowances, however. If you aren't healthy enough to race everyday without medication perhaps that is a bad career choice. Otherwise we should classify racing like the NHRA does drag racing:
Pro Stock
Double AA Fueler
 
Jul 22, 2009
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I don't believe you compete at any sort of semi-serious level. I don't know what the delimma is.

Pros on the other hand would have to consult both their physicians and doping authorities to stay legal.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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I'd leave the moral hand-wringing alone, for now, if I were you.
Find the underlying cause(s) for the various symptoms you experience (some of them might be related, some probably not), and leave competitive cycling for now. Go on rides if you feel like it, and get all the pleasure you can from it.
Once you and your physician know what you're up against, any TUE or whatnot will sort itself out.
I'm an asthmatic due to the permanent damage done to my lungs and bronchi through training and competitions in extreme cold weather. Without my asthma meds, for which I have a TUE, I wouldn't be able to compete in any sport like cycling and skiing. Thanks to the meds I obtain "normal" functionality, but not more. The meds don't give me any competitive edge over my opponents, they only stop the debilitating asthma attacks from occurring. I bet your anemia could be treated similarly.
But first thing's first!

I wish you the best of luck!
 

buckwheat

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Sep 24, 2009
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TeamSkyFans said:
Something for discussion and I bring this up as it may or may not be something that becomes a question for me at some point.

As a lot of people know I suffer anxiety etc, and im finally being tested for thyroid and testosterone which should have happened 18 months ago. I am also being tested for anemia as a lot of problems i encounter point to me being anemic, problems with circulation especially in the knees etc, muscle problems, and also the fact that there are times i get far more tired than I should do. SHould i turn out to be anemic which the doctors consider is highly possible then obviously i will be prescriped some form of medication.

---------------------------------------------------
So, hypothetically you turn out to be anemic and are prescribed medication (for which you obtain a tue) that will increase your red blood cell count.

How comfortable do you feel about competing whilst also taking what is effectively a performance enhancing drug?

Personally my gut is that whilst on medication i wouldnt be comfortable doing so. However much the drugs were there to take me from a low level to what is considered a "normal" level it would still feel like cheating. How would I feel competing against someone that i later discovered had a tue for a substance that increased their ability to compete.

Dilemma...
Maybe the competition isn't serving your health issues very well.

It's pretty widely known that mental stress reduces testosterone levels.

Perhaps a question to ask yourself is, what is the genesis of your anxiety?

I apologize for suggesting this, as you've most likely been over this many times.

Maybe you're underestimating the effect your anxiety issues are having on your physical health?

It's my belief they can be extraordinarily, physically debilitating.

One suggestion which I think can perform wonders if you're not already aware of it. Tai chi and Qigong exercises can really change your life.

BTW, I don't think, you're being unethical by competing while your conditions are being legitimately treated. If you were riding professionally I'd have a different opinion.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
buckwheat said:
BTW, I don't think, you're being unethical by competing while your conditions are being legitimately treated. If you were riding professionally I'd have a different opinion.
What was the main thing i was aiming at, not my personal circumstances, but the general feeling of anyone who uses authorised medication and as a result does get benefits from it. I think the asthma comparison is actually a very good one.

Still would feel weird though, having your performance improved by meds..

hektoren said:
The meds don't give me any competitive edge over my opponents, they only stop the debilitating asthma attacks from occurring. I bet your anemia could be treated similarly.
I think thats the crux. Your medication does not give you an advantage over other competitors but it does give you an edge over your "normal" unmedicated self. i guess thats where my dilemma is.. Im too straight for my own good :D
 

Polish

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Mar 11, 2009
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TeamSkyFans said:
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So, hypothetically you turn out to be anemic and are prescribed medication (for which you obtain a tue) that will increase your red blood cell count.

How comfortable do you feel about competing whilst also taking what is effectively a performance enhancing drug?

Dilemma...
If you are a Pro obeying the laws of WADA, it seems you are NOT allowed to use "effectively a performance enhancing drug". No TUE for You. Next.

"WADA established the TUE to allow athletes to participate in competition who were required to take an otherwise prohibited substance for a legitimate medical purpose. A successful TUE application has three aspects: one, that the athlete would experience significant health problems if the subject medication were not taken; two, the athlete would obtain no significant performance benefit from the prohibited substance; three, there is no reasonable therapeutic alternative to the prohibited substance.
http://www.faqs.org/sports-science/Sp-Tw/Therapeutic-Use-Exemption.html


Are you even allowed to be a BIKE-PURE member if you have a TUE?
I understand they do not even like riders taking "supplements"
 
Jul 14, 2009
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Training at a high level does all kinds of things to your blood. Dehydration, and your diet and exercise level are components of a sound treatment. If the doctor treating you takes your blood only a couple of times he or she will probably do the standard issue,,give you the suggested amount and increase or decrease your dosage depending on the results that you report back. If you tell the doctor that you are a competing and that you have noticed that your behavior/condition has improved and oh by the ways I am able to go off the front for 45 minutes that I couldn't do prior to the medication he or she will probably back off by a few milligrams. My experience is that people come up with a set of conditions in order to get a PED. Many people I raced against took bronchodilators that were intended for asthma treatment and super overused the products. Same thing with meds intended for diabetics with poor circulation. I think you won't run into problems unless you want to. If you are riding and training at a high level and find that intense exercise and conditioning does not improve your complete condition it will probably be pretty easy to see the results of the medication. I wouldn't discuss your medical practices with anybody other than close family members. I watched a girls who has a serious condition use an inhaler before starting the district TT..when she got a result a few groups emerged ..1 group of people said she was a cheater to her face. others whispered and rumored it.another group didn't give a f-ck..that last group was pretty small and are all decent racers. As you can see the PED subject has many science fiction parallels . Good luck on getting healthy having a bunch of numb skulls chime in about you will rpobably not help in your healing.
 
Aug 19, 2009
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TeamSkyFans said:
What was the main thing i was aiming at, not my personal circumstances, but the general feeling of anyone who uses authorised medication and as a result does get benefits from it. I think the asthma comparison is actually a very good one.

Still would feel weird though, having your performance improved by meds..



I think thats the crux. Your medication does not give you an advantage over other competitors but it does give you an edge over your "normal" unmedicated self. i guess thats where my dilemma is.. Im too straight for my own good :D
I would look at it as medication giving you an advantage over your "normal" debilitated self.

I'm asthmatic. I've raced (at a very low level) both with and without medication. I have a clear advantage over my normal non-medicated self, in that my lungs continue to function at their normal level.
 
Apr 22, 2009
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TeamSkyFans said:
What was the main thing i was aiming at, not my personal circumstances, but the general feeling of anyone who uses authorised medication and as a result does get benefits from it. I think the asthma comparison is actually a very good one.

Still would feel weird though, having your performance improved by meds..



I think thats the crux. Your medication does not give you an advantage over other competitors but it does give you an edge over your "normal" unmedicated self. i guess thats where my dilemma is.. Im too straight for my own good :D
I'm with everybody else. Worry about your health issue first. Period. Unless you're at a really competitive level (at least Pro or Cat 1/2) don't worry about it.

If it really bothers, why not request a TUE? As far as I know, the WADC standards apply to ANYBODY who competes in events organized by federations or their subunits that fall under IOC jurisdiction. Technically, you should be able to request a TUE, and if entitled, receive one.

Let us know how that works if you go down the TUE route. I have asthma and use albuterol/salbutamol; I've always believed that I'm technically required to have a TUE for it, but since I only compete at the 'hack' level, I've never worried about it. It would be interesting for many of us to know how hard it is to get a TUE.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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fatandfast said:
Many people I raced against took bronchodilators that were intended for asthma treatment and super overused the products.

....And the people you raced against probably didn't get any positive effects from it. The beta2-adrenergic agonists like Salbutamol, Clenbuterol etc. are notorious for their ability when OD'ing to cause heart arrythmia, a less efficient heart, tremor, dry mouth and muscle cramps. Not exactly what you'd want during competition.
Any asthmatic will tell you. I get jumpy too, more prone to panic with any sudden sound.
 
Jul 6, 2010
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If you're not a pro, I believe it's pretty much getting your doc to fill out a form that's available from WADA. Just something saying you need a certain med to physiologically perform safely.

As to the anxiety. I've suffered from depression and anxiety for a number of years, have tried a few different meds, and ultimately found that being able to talk to a good psychologist/therapist was ultimately more fruitful than any chems I had tried. Plus, getting off the meds really sucks! The withdrawl side-effects are unbelievable!

Look how well I'm doing now! That might be debatable by some of our forum friends...
 
Jul 27, 2009
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Ferminal said:
As a recreational competitor there is no dilemma, you do what's best for your health, and other recreational competitors should not despise you because you're looking after yourself.
I agree, if your doctor prescribes medicine of his own accord without you prompting him/her then you should look after your health and take it. If you are well enough to race as well then my personal opinion is that I would not consider it performance enhancing on your part.

I have known of friends of friends that have been specifically to doctors to gain prescriptions for testosterone etc without being ill or deficient in anyway, that's a different kettle of fish in my opinion. That's cheating. (And I think it's a product you can't get a TUE for anyway).
 
A

Anonymous

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M Sport said:
I agree, if your doctor prescribes medicine of his own accord without you prompting him/her then you should look after your health and take it. If you are well enough to race as well then my personal opinion is that I would not consider it performance enhancing on your part.

I have known of friends of friends that have been specifically to doctors to gain prescriptions for testosterone etc without being ill or deficient in anyway, that's a different kettle of fish in my opinion. That's cheating. (And I think it's a product you can't get a TUE for anyway).

oh theres no question of taking whatever meds are given, that is never in question.

the question was more how ethical did i believe it to be whilst taking those meds even at a local or regional level. I thought fatandfasts comments on the girl with the inhaler were very interesting. Thats always the trouble, that there are those that will see it as an underhand way to cheat.

Interesting that nobody would feel guilty riding well on a genuinly prescribed medication.
 
May 26, 2009
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Good luck with managing the anxiety - if you can reduce that, my guess is you'll find yourself wondering why you even worried about this particular scenario.
 
Jul 25, 2009
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TeamSkyFans said:
the question was more how ethical did i believe it to be whilst taking those meds even at a local or regional level.
IMO iron is basically a diet supplement and will never get you to weird and unnatural crit levels, as your body will regulate your crit (unless you take EPO). If you or anyone else takes iron, it doesn't mean that every cyclist suddenly HAS to dope to be competitive. If your behavior isn't adversely affecting others, it's difficult to see the moral issue.

TeamSkyFans said:
Interesting that nobody would feel guilty riding well on a genuinly prescribed medication.
Sort of. If your question was "what if my testosterone levels are really low and I get a TUE for that?" you might get a different answer.

I took DHEA for seasonal affective disorder this winter and pondered how I would feel about that if I raced. I wouldn't have been ok with it, even though my levels were tested and were quite low. So the answer, which seemed so obvious in the iron case, doesn't work for me with hormone supplements. Hmmm.....:confused:

Somehow Iv'e assumed that the body has a poor ability to regulate hormone levels, to ensure they stay below some genetically predetermined limit. I have no idea if this is correct.:eek: I just have the vague impression that taking any hormone supplements COULD put one over the maximum level that their genetic potential dictates....and therefore is not ok.

So that completely contradicts my underlined sentence above. I appear to be passing judgement on the basis of individual genetic ability, and a paucity of understanding of the medications in question:eek:. Thanks for a thought provoking question DIM.

As an aside - you probably already limit you caffeine intake but if not, that might help with the tiredness thing (once you get over the withdrawal).
 
Jun 16, 2009
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For me its very simple:

If you are legitimately awarded a TUE for a medication that brings things like Anemia UP to a normal level then there is zero reason to feel any moral issues whatsoever. In effect, you are not performance enhancing by taking treatment, you are performance normalizing.

I don't know of anyone that I race with that would complain if a competitor with a health issue like that was receiving treatment for it (whether that person then smashed them in races or not). I think you are racing with a leg tied behind your back now - if you are strong now then great but that shouldn't stop you from allowing the other leg to be untied.
 

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