January 25, 2012
The drug testers reportedly found multiple “substances” but many of these are simply the same thing, metabolites or derivatives of the one drug. We can’t even be sure why he took this particular selection. He may have been injured, had allergies or was simply misguided. It may not have even worked. It’s hard to know what the effects of any drug cocktail may be. Some drugs are enhanced in effectiveness by a small quanity of other drugs but some are blocked and rendered ineffective. And some may be deliberate masking agents. But what are these particular drugs and what do they do, generally speaking?
The “drugs” as reported in Cyclingnews.com are:
3′HydroxyStanozolol - a metabolite of Stanozolol, an anabolic steroid. It builds new and repairs damaged muscle. Stanozolol is difficult to detect in standard urine tests and is prone to sedimentation (so samples left to settle will stratify and give contradictory results). Metabolites are simply downstream indicators of a drug that has been metabolised. This counts as drug #1 – Stanozolol. It has been widely used in many sports for performance enhancement.
16B-HydroxyStanozolol – the main metabolite of Stanozolol. Again still just one drug so far.
4B-HydroxyStanozolol – yet another metabolite of Stanozolol.
4-Meyhylhexaneamine (sic) – well actually it’s spelled Methylhexaneamine, or methylhexanenamine, or even dimethylamylamine – a vasoconstrictor, usually inhaled (but can be a dietary supplement). That’s to say that its prime use is for nasal decongestion. It helps you breathe easier. It is also a central nervous system stimulant, so it probably sharpens you up and possibly helps burn fat. It too has been widely used in many sports for performance enhancement. That’s drug 2, if you are counting.
Prednisone – a synthetic glucocorticosteroid that is typically used an an immunosuppressive drug. Whilst that is an unwanted side effect for athletes, it also alleviates allergic reactions and inflammation, so it helps you train longer and harder – in theory. However it has several major adverse side effects, including glaucoma, bone and muscle loss (it’s catabolic, not anabolic) as well as thinning of the skin; so the positive effects may be outweighed in the medium to longer term, especially so if you get the dose wrong. It breaks down into cortisol and gives you a feeling of anger at higher doses, so perhaps that may help give an athlete an edge. Just don’t take too much for too long. Drug number 3.
Prednisolone – a variant of Prednisone, virtually identical in all but name and chemical structure. Still just 3 drugs.
Oxandrolone - also known as Anavar or Oxandrin, a fairly common anabolic steroid with fewer side effects than most. Builds or heals muscle and thus potentiates mass and power. Drug 4 and the second anabolic steroid. Removes itself quickly, too, so can be hard to catch.
Epioxandrolone – a metabolite of Oxandrolone, so we are still on 4 drugs so far.
Tuaminoheptane – another nasal decongestant, like Methylhexaneamine. May have been mixed in the same batch, I don’t know. We’ll count it as #5 anyway.
Triamcinolone Acetonide – well now it gets interesting because here we have another corticosteroid (a catabolic steroid, not anabolic). Again it can be used to treat allergies, asthma and rashes and is used as a nasal spray or perhaps more often topically. We don’t know how it was applied in this case but perhaps it was in the nasal spray(s) already mentioned? Or perhaps our rider suffered skin allergies and applied it as a cream? Side effects can be bad. Reluctantly #6 but I have some doubts.
6Beta-HydroxyMethandienone – an anabolic steroid that I don’t know much about – although I suspect it has a relationship with testosterone. Again, reluctantly, let’s call it #7.
17-Epiméthandienone – dare I suggest that this is a metabolite of 6Beta-HydroxyMethandienone? Let’s just call it 7.
So we have 7 drugs, really, in 3 groups: anabolic and catabolic steroids plus a selection of nasal decongestants. And we can’t be sure how many of these were bundled into one nasal spray. We can however deduce from all of this that we have a rider who took a bundle of anabolic steroids to either build himself up or to heal an injury. He also took corticosteroids, probably both topically and by tablet, either to relieve his allergies or other inflammation, possibly training or injury-related. He may also be asthmatic, or he just wanted to breathe easier in a race.
I doubt that he’s that remarkable, really, and I’d really like to know the full truth of his story. Was he just naive, a bit misguided or simply taking things a bit too far?
The French Cycling Federation FFC has announced a three-year suspension for Alexandre Dougnier, who tested positive for no less than 12 different performance-enhancing substances last year. The 19-year-old, who rode with local club AC Boulogne-Billancourt, was caught by surprise at a Kermesse race in Aubervilliers, France, on May 17, 2011.
Traces of the following substances were found in Dougnier’s urine sample, according to the Federation: 3′HydroxyStanozolol, 16B-HydroxyStanozolol, 4B-HydroxyStanozolol, 4-Meyhylhexaneamine, Prednisone, Prednisolone, Oxandrolone, Epioxandrolone, Tuaminoheptane, Triamcinolone Acetonide, 6B-HydroxyMethandienone and 17-Epiméthandienone.
While the sheer number of substances makes this an almost farcical story, coming as it does in the wake of the Gregory Bauge case it makes you wonder if French cycling’s much vaunted no doping culture is starting to come apart at the seams. Dougnier was only racing at a local level but ACBB is a big club with a big reputation. Was he playing the system or was it playing him?
The report doesn’t give any details of how much of each substance was in his sample, or how they all got into his system. Do they all occur in one product or was this guy on a cocktail of medicines?