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What Is Trimetazidine and Why Is It Banned from Olympic Sports?

It is an agent used to prevent angina attacks.

If you were watching the 2022 Winter Olympics, you would have come across the news that an athlete from Russia was tested positive for consuming a drug that is banned in sports.

Well, the drug that this athlete consumed is called Trimetazidine. So what the heck is Trimetazidine and why is it banned for athletes? Let us find out.

What is Trimetazidine?

Trimetazidine or TMZ for short is a substance that is used to treat angina. Angina is a heart condition where a person suffers from chest pain which is caused by a reduction in blood flowing to the heart.

TMS has been mainly prescribed as a long-term treatment of angina. However, in some countries like France, it is also used to treat tinnitus and dizziness.

So what does this substance do to your body? Well, TMZ is used to decrease the requirement of oxygen by the heart. It achieves this by shifting the metabolism of the heart from fats to glucose and in doing so, the heart works more efficiently.

Why is TMZ Banned in Sports?

So you might be wondering why is a substance that treats angina banned in the Olympics and almost every other sport? Well, the thing is that TMZ has benefits for athletes as well.

The properties of TMZ make it a metabolic modulator for the heart. What this means is that TMZ can help an athlete to perform at a higher than normal heart rate for longer periods.

So quite obviously, athletes go through higher heart rates in their respective sports and TMZ works as a boost to help them maintain that higher heart rate longer. And that is a big no-no when it comes to fairness in sports.

In a paper about drug abuse by Polish athletes, the scientists said: “According to the knowledge of the pharmacology and mechanism of TMZ action, TMZ can be used by athletes to improve physical efficiency, especially in the case of endurance sports.”

And that is why TMZ is banned in sports. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has classified TMZ under the list of “metabolic modulators” and banned it from being consumed by athletes at any time, whether they are in or out of competition. This decision was taken in 2014 by WADA.

Cases of TMZ Abuse in Sports

The most popular case of TMZ abuse was back in 2014, when A Chinese swimmer and 5 times Olympic gold medalist, Sun Yang was suspended for 3 months for consuming TMZ. He is currently under a four-year ban.

The most recent case appeared in the 2022 Winter Olympics where Kamila Valieva, a 15-year-old skater from Russia was tested positive for taking TMZ before the games.

She was expected to pocket the third straight gold medal in Women’s Figure Skating but this positive test could cause the country a loss.

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