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The Great Battle Against GW1516

Much has been said about the drug GW1516. It had been judged, debated over, talked about and prohibited. Many researches have already studied its benefits and side effects, its mode of action, and its chemical properties. A lot of controversies have come up and caused its prohibition. A lot of athletes have already been suspended from their respective sports due to consumption of the controversial GW1516. So, after all this fuss, where is it now?

imageThe World Anti-Doping Agency or WADA has already included GW1516 in its prohibited list in 2009 due to its adverse effects. But why were there athletes who still tested positive early last year for GW1516? The questions as to where these people get this drug and how they get it are still hanging in the air leaving WADA and other anti-doping agencies asking themselves as to what could have gone wrong in their anti-doping campaigns.

Despite warnings and alerts released by WADA and health agencies in different countries, a lot of people still use this prohibited drug. Recently, a Russian cyclist had been provisionally suspended after having been tested positive for GW1516. He had been out of his team after a urine sample collected in March 2013 tested positive for the sulfone compound of the drug. The promise of being a cycling champion has been lost and the career that could have led him to his dreams is now gone. Though these athletes may have various reasons for taking this drug- whether for health or performance reasons, WADA has been strict about its anti-doping move to totally ban this drug and suspend athletes who would cross the line.

The same fate awaits the other athletes who are using it. This event is absolutely a clear evidence that GW1516 poses threats not only to your health but also to your goals. But the good thing here is that the several teams involved didn’t tolerate this offense. They adhere to WADA rules and promote clean cycling which the other teams can look up to.

This occurrence has significantly increased awareness among athletes, anti-doping agencies and the masses about this drug. Now, both of its beneficial and adverse effects are known. Two of its widely- known adverse effects are cardiovascular problems and malignancies. Due to this drug’s effect on a receptor called PPAR, the body’s metabolism has been greatly altered. Stimulation of PPAR leads to development of type 1 muscles, which are mainly used for endurance exercises. These muscles preferentially make use of your fats, instead of glucose, which could lead to the production of harmful metabolites, such as ketone bodies and lactic acid.

The effects of this drug can even more be augmented by AICAR, chemically known as amin-ribofuranosyl-imidazole-carboxamideribonucleotide. AICAR is an endogenous substrate of nucleic acid synthesis. However, when exogenously administered, it may produce unintended effects in the body. Just like GW1516, it isalso banned by WADA. AICAR also enhances one’s performance by facilitating the uptake of glucose by muscle cells, a phenomenon that leads to increased energy production.However, it has been shown that this drug can promote the production of acidic metabolites in the body, such as lactic acid, that may have dangerous metabolic effects.

Although the development of GW1516 has long been abandoned by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), its popularity didn’t die down. The controversies that followed must have been the culprit as to its fame. WADA and the cycling governing body, UCI, have made their stand regarding these two substances. They have clearly stated that they will not ever tolerate their use. GSK has also stopped its development because of possibilities of great health risks. Though they know it will sell millions, they opted not to risk people’s lives.

The big decision here lies on the hands of the consumers. May the people, especially the athletes, who are still using it, be enlightened and take a great step towards good health. Like WADA and UCI, the world is looking forward to a doping-free sport environment!

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