Medication and prohibited substances

Here you can find information on the latest WADA prohibited list, and all you need to know about Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs). We also have fact files on various prohibited substances including anabolic steroids, recreational drugs and the dangers of contaminated meat.

Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS)

Substance information

Prohibited Substance Category: S1: Anabolic Agents
Prohibited in-competition? Yes
Prohibited out-of-competition? Yes

Anabolic Androgenic steroids (AAS) mimic the male sex hormone testosterone. Testosterone plays a key role in the development of the testicles as well as promoting male characteristics such as a deeper voice, the growth of body hair and muscle mass.

AAS are used by dopers to cheat by improving strength, speed, and muscle size, or to recover from an injury more quickly than the normal rate.

Use and/or possession of AAS is a criminal offence in many countries.

What are the health risks?

AAS can cause a number of harmful side effects to a player’s health including acne, heart disease, cancer and liver and kidney damage. It can also cause increased aggression and extreme mood swings (sometimes known as ‘Roid rage’)

What are the side effects?

There are many different side effects of steroid use for males and females.  For men these include: Breast growth, shrinking of testicles, decreased sperm production and impotence. For women these include: deeper voice, facial and body hair, enlarged clitoris, abnormal menstrual cycles, and infertility.

What is the starting sanction for a first offence in rugby?

4 years

What else should you know?

Steroids purchased over the internet or from unknown or unregulated suppliers can be fake or mixed with other chemicals, making them extremely dangerous.

In most countries, the possession or sale of anabolic steroids without a prescription is a criminal offence, as is carrying or importing a steroid into a different country.

If you buy a steroid over the internet and it is identified by the police or customs, you could face a criminal charge and an anti-doping investigation, even if you don’t physically receive the substances for which you have you paid.

Risk of rule violation

More anti-doping rule violations involve players who have taken AAS than any other substance.  Many players have tested positive because AAS were contained in a supplement.