Meldonium in Anti-Doping: Cases, Uses & Classification

Unmasking the Power of Meldonium: Exploring Doping Cases, Medical Applications, and Classification in Anti-Doping Regulations.

What is Meldonium?

Meldonium is a drug primarily used for the treatment of myocardial ischaemia and ischaemic cerebrovascular disturbances. It has cardioprotective and anti-ischaemic effects.

Where was Meldonium developed?

Meldonium is primarily manufactured by the Latvian drug company Grindeks. It is also known as Mildronāts, Quaterine, MET-88, THP, trimethylhydrazinium propionate, and 3-(2,2,2-trimethylhydraziniumyl)propionate.
With sales of the drug reaching 56 million euros in 2013, it is one of Latvia’s biggest medical exports.
According to the designer of the drug, Ivar Kalvins, chair of the scientific board of the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, meldonium was created to increase the capacity of the body to carry oxygen.
Initially designed in Latvia for use in animals, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has indicated that this drug is banned in Olympic sports.

What is the role of Meldonium in medicine?

Meldonium is used to treat conditions like ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disorders. It improves blood circulation, stress tolerance, and exercise capacity in patients.

What is the status of Meldonium in anti-doping regulations?

Meldonium was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Monitoring Program in January 2015 and later prohibited on the 2016 List of Prohibited Substances.

Can anti-doping tests detect the use of Meldonium?

Yes, anti-doping tests can detect the presence of Meldonium in an athlete's urine or blood samples, leading to disciplinary action if used without a valid Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

How many doping cases involving Meldonium have been registered?

There have been 210 doping cases involving Meldonium registered in the Anti-Doping Database.

Which sports have seen doping cases involving Meldonium?

Doping cases involving Meldonium have been reported in various sports, with track and field having the highest number (39), followed by powerlifting (17) and wrestling (16).

What are the sanctions for Meldonium doping violations?

Athletes caught using Meldonium without a valid TUE face suspensions, ranging from 2 years to 4 years. In the Anti-Doping Database 25 athletes has been banned for 2 years, 10 athletes for 3 years and 134 athletes for 4 years.

How does Meldonium function as a performance-enhancing substance?

Meldonium is believed to potentially enhance performance and shorten recovery after physical activity. Its effects on blood circulation and stress tolerance are thought to contribute to improved performance. Some sources say Soviet troops used Meldonium in the Afghanistan war between 1979 and 1989. Due to the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan, Soviet soldiers would take meldonium to increase their endurance in the oxygen-reduced air while carrying large backpacks.

Why do athletes use Meldonium?

Athletes may use Meldonium to gain a competitive edge, improve endurance, and aid recovery, believing it could enhance their overall performance.

Are inadvertent or nonconscious uses of Meldonium common in doping cases?

In some cases, athletes may use Meldonium without full awareness of its prohibited status, leading to inadvertent violations. However, many cases involve intentional use for performance enhancement.

How has research supported the investigation of cases related to Meldonium?

Research on Meldonium's pharmacological effects and potential performance enhancement has provided evidence to support anti-doping investigations and decision-making.

Any known athletes who have tested positive for Meldonium?

Some known athletes who have tested positive for Meldonium include Maria Sharapova (tennis, 15 months suspension) and Alexander Krushelnitsky (curling, 4 years suspension during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games).

Remember, the use of Meldonium and any other performance-enhancing drugs is strictly forbidden in sports. To ensure clean, fair, and safe competitions, athletes should adhere to anti-doping regulations and compete based on their natural abilities and talents.

Disclaimer: This FAQ is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before using any medication or supplement.

Findings from a large study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine

  • There were an alarmingly high prevalence of meldonium use by athletes in sport as demonstrated by the laboratory findings at the Baku 2015 European Games
  • 13 medallists or competition winners were taking meldonium at the time of the Baku 2015 European Games
  • Meldonium use was detected in athletes competing in 15 of the 21 sports during the Baku 2015 European Games

We can highly recommend reading the report. It is linked below



  • Russia - 76 doping cases
  • Kazakhstan - 36 doping cases
  • Latvia - 16 doping cases


  • Track and field - 39 doping cases
  • Powerlifting - 17 doping cases
  • Wrestling - 16 doping cases


  • 2 years suspension - 25 cases
  • 3 years suspension - 10 cases
  • 4 years suspension - 134 cases

The statistics are based on data in the Anti-Doping Database. They are correct as of July 20, 2023

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