Banned substance found in SA

2010-11-16 22:54

Antoinette Pienaar and Wilhelm de Swardt

Pretoria – The banned substance methylhexaneamine, for which two Springbok rugby players tested positive, is apparently freely available in South African pharmacies.

Beeld on Tuesday saw at least three supplements which are apparently used especially by bodybuilders before training sessions, in Dis-chem pharmacies. They cost between about R390 and R550 per container.

Ron Read, trade manager at Bolus, which distributed the supplement Jack 3d locally, said they warned professional athletes not to use the product as it contained methylhexaneamine.

"For anyone else who wants to use it as part of their gym programme, it is completely legal," he said.

Evox's Muscle Punch 3DT and BSN's Endoburn also contain the stimulant.

Dean Becker from Evox said they sponsored athletes but would never recommend that a player took a banned substance.

Professor Andy Gray, a pharmacologist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal said on Tuesday he had never heard of methylhexaneamine until the recent series of incidents where players tested positive for it. He also didn't know of local medicines that contained the substance.

Methylhexaneamine is a component in oil belonging to geraniums.

New Zealand at one stage considered scheduling the product as it was misused as a "party drug".

Since 2009, it has featured on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of banned substances.

Chris Hattingh of the Institute for Drug-free Sport has been warning athletes for some time to be careful when choosing supplements as there are no rules to regulate their import and manufacture.

"Many of the supplements are of dubious origins."

"It sometimes happens that supplements are made in the same factories as banned substances like steroids and growth hormones."

Due to poor controls some supplements could be tainted by banned substances.

Hattingh said methylhexaneamine would from next year be reclassified as a specified substance on the list of banned substances.

This meant that athletes who used it still ran the risk of being suspended for two years.

But if they could prove that they hadn't taken the substance to deliver better performances, it could be a mitigating factor.

Hattingh said the institute had received many requests from companies to certify their supplements.

"We don't do it, simply because there is no quality control. There is also no legal requirement for manufacturers to do quality control."


  • maw - 2010-11-17 01:37

    So is it flu treatment or supplements causing the two players to test positive? Chiliboy has had 2 tests this year and they were negative but just before the autumn internationals he decides to take such a supplement without knowing of the banned substance? I am sure that every single pro rugby player in South Africa no doubt the world has it drummed into them not to risk taking such supplements because of such risks. There are cases where companies have intentionally put steroids into such supplements at the start of selling a particular product so that users continue to buy it and later they remove the steroids in the product. It is a very dodgy area and I no doubt trust that there was no intent from the players. Who knows what will happen next?

      Zion - 2010-11-17 07:39

      I regularly use nasal sprays and flu cures. This article prompted me to check out the active ingredients of the type I currently use. MOMETASONE FUROATE. God alone knows what that is. The point is that I do not usually read what the chemical make-up of the medications are. The whole issue of the nasal spray seems to be a red herring. My spray contents is 18g @ 140 metered spray doses. The question is: How much of the banned substance, methylhexaneamine, must be used to produce any worthwhile effects. Bear in mind that the sprays are carried by an aqueous solution of benzalkonium chloride, in my case, plus a preservative. The implication here, of course, is to indicate that huge amounts of nasal spray must be used to gain a significant advantage.

      Azurite - 2010-11-17 08:36

      @Zion. The slightest bit of it is enough. The positive test detected the substance and any amount of it is enough to cause suspicion.

      FatherGoose - 2010-11-17 09:38

      Lilian - what's strange? Selection for testing is always random. Two people who spend a lot of time in each others company happening to have flu at the same or similar times. What's strange about that?

      Zion - 2010-11-17 17:20

      @ Azurite I am not disputing what is enough to test positive. I would like to know, then, what is enough to produce the desired effects or performance if you will. Do we really believe these two guys took the stuff to fight a snotty nose? Maybe Div will fall for that. Besides as I stated earlier A huge amount of nasal spray must be literally consumed to induce improved performance. If these guys had the sniffles or the flu why were they on the field in the first place. After all the spray must have been taken within 36hrs at most prior to the test.

      AndrewG - 2010-11-17 18:43

      @ Zion The bottle should say how many mg/ug of active are contained per active dose. Many drugs are effective at very low doses (i.e. microgram or even nanogram level 0.00000X - 0.00000000X grams) and as its nasal it will be absorbed directly into the blood stream so completely bypasses the stomach and liver which could break it down. If the spray bottle recommends on one spray then that is a therapeutic dose and it is delivering sufficient drug to have a biological effect. So I doubt that huge amounts would need to be taken to have an effect, a couple of sprays that is going directly to the bloodstream is enough (look at asthma pumps- one puff is enough to open your airways up and give you a performance edge and your standard pump contains 200 metered doses).

      lois.yager - 2010-11-18 03:21

      Andrew's comment about nasal spray going straight to the bloodstream and thus avoiding the stomach and liver isn't correct. Sure, it avoids the stomach but all blood goes through the liver so it can detoxify the blood. Chemicals absorbed through nasal sprays go through the liver too. I would love to know what the concentration of the drug in the bloodstream was. Also, supplements don't always report ingredients and their concentration in supplements varies widely from can to can even of the same product. Lots of herbal products don't list active chemical ingredients, just the herb. So "geranium oil" might be listed but not this drug which is contained in the oil. The fact that this chemical is a non-prescription decongestant and if the concentration is within therapeutic dosage, and the athlete requires decongestants for cold/flu/allergies then shouldn't be considered a "banned" substance. Sometimes the authorities go overboard and this might be one of those times.

      Zion - 2010-11-18 06:25

      Thanks AndrewG, Where did you say I can get the stuff and what is its trade name - the nasal spray that is?

  • Met Uysh! - 2010-11-17 08:10

    Methylhexaneamine only came onto the WADA's list in 2010. The list was issued end of 2009. Why would sponsors promote supplements with banned substances?Surely young sportsment see the name EVOX sponsoring big events and players and then buy their products with the perception its safe. Then you get a Johan Goosen and a Bjorn Basson tested positive for drugs.

      supacabana - 2010-11-17 09:22

      It's not a drug, it's a banned stimulant. It's only banned by WADA not by South African law. Go read the article properly before making comments.

      Met Uysh! - 2010-11-17 10:05

      Supacabana, you seem extremely ignorant. Stimulants are drugs and its the connotation that is made with the term that sells the articles "Bjorn and Chili tested positive for drugs". Go read the Tim Noakes article: "Drug disappears fast". Do a google search and you will find that stimulants ARE drugs. Coffee is a drug. Don't be so quick to judge. Do you know what WADA stands for? Do you know its only banned in terms of COmpetitive Sport? I've read the article but luckily my research goes further than a single person's view. I advise you to do the same.

      sharkbait - 2010-11-17 11:52

      hahaha, supacabana, you got caned there... lol

  • powachair - 2010-11-17 08:27

    For a positive test result an amount far in excess of the prescribed dosage must be used

      Met Uysh! - 2010-11-17 10:06

      PErhaps for a positive result but they were adverse analytical findings which is the case when the mere presence is found.

      pcnaude - 2010-11-17 10:23

      I beg to disagree. Today's testing methods and protocols are sufficiently refined to detect very small concentrations of any substance. These tests are molecule specific in most cases and that makes the process very sensitive and accurate. Even small amounts taken have a good chance of being detected.

  • Azurite - 2010-11-17 08:34

    They did not take any other supplements except that which their team mates at their provinces and fellow Bok team mates took. Thus one has to speculate that either the flu treatment they received or food they ate caused this positive test. The real threat is that it could be that the whole Bok team are taking it unknowingly!

      Met Uysh! - 2010-11-17 10:07

      Or maybe the whole team would have tested positive had they all been tested. BUt the Bok team has banned all supplements for now and I believe with the 24-36 hour detectability they should all be clear by now.

  • CliffBradley - 2010-11-17 09:32

    Amr Super Clever AZURITE - See This Article - READ, READ, READ the contents of anything you digest !!!

  • quintusb - 2010-11-17 12:24

    i use evox punch 3dt, and there is no warning that it continues questionable ingrediants but anyway i'm not a proffesional sportsman. btw i find it suspect that bryan habana "broke" a bone - i'm thinking he might have also tested positive, or is afraid of testing positive also...conspiracy, lol

  • skywalker - 2010-11-18 11:10

    Hmmmm...I wonder who's gonna get tested this week...?

  • Gavin - 2010-11-18 13:54

    All banned substances are found in SA,just go to Hillbrow hahaha

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