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Banned Substances

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) works with USA Triathlon and all other National Governing Bodies to ensure that doping has no place in sport.

These are questions you may have about what substances are banned in athletic participation.

What substances are being tested for?
As the national anti-doping agency in the United States, mandated to implement the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code in this country, USADA tests for the substances and methods found on the WADA Prohibited List. The full list can be found here. Testing at competitions could include special analysis such as for EPO, CIR, hGH, HBT, etc.

How do I know that I am not taking a banned substance?
Athletes can check the status of their medications by visiting the Global Drug Reference Online (Global DRO) database. The site allows athletes, coaches, parents or anyone else to search for a substance, by an ingredient, or its generic or brand name. USADA also maintains a drug reference phone line that allows athletes to connect with an expert regarding their medication. Keep in mind that neither resource provides information on dietary supplements. For more information visit

Can taking a dietary supplement trigger a positive test?

Unfortunately, due to the lack of regulation present in today’s nutritional supplement marketplace, including the existence of unscrupulous, rogue supplement manufactures, USADA is unable to provide direction or guidance as to which dietary supplements are safe, and which contain prohibited substances. USADA is currently working with the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, USOC and other national sports and health organizations to eliminate this uncertainty in the marketplace. The effort, called “Supplement Safety Now” includes media outreach and grassroots mobilization. USADA is also in the process of launching an online portal specifically dedicated to the questions and issues surrounding supplements.

What is a Therapeutic Use Exemption and when can I apply for one?
A Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) allows an athlete with a legitimate medical need for an otherwise prohibited substance to use that substance with approval. USADA is here to help athletes who have questions about the TUE Process. Athletes should begin here by determining if a TUE is needed for their specific competition level. If it is determined that a TUE is needed, this section of USADA’s website will also explain how athletes can apply for a TUE.

For more on anti-doping education, view the complete FAQ section or visit