The use of meldonium – the banned drug taken by Russian tennis champion Maria Sharapova – was widespread among elite athletes competing at the European Games in Baku last year, according to research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM).
What is Meldonium?
The study, based on information volunteered by athletes and individual medical teams, and on laboratory data from doping tests from the Games in Azerbaijan, suggested up to 490 athletes may have been taking the drug during the competition.
The findings showed that during the Baku Games, 13 medallists or competition winners were taking meldonium, 66 athletes tested positive for it, and they said meldonium was detected in athletes competing in 15 of the 21 sports in the competition.
“This study highlights the widespread and inappropriate use and prescribing of this prescription drug in a generally healthy athlete population,” said the researchers, led by Klaus Steinbach and Christian Schneider of the European Olympic Committees Medical and Anti-Doping Commission.