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How UFC Athletes Can Safely Use Cold and Flu Products

It’s important to know that there are many popular over-the-counter products used for everyday ailments that can cause a positive test if used in-competition. More specifically, many cold and flu medications and inhalers contain stimulants that are prohibited in-competition.

Keep reading to learn how athletes subject to anti-doping rules can safely use cold and flu products.

Look Out for Common Prohibited Ingredients

Ingredients to avoid using if you are competing or getting close to a competition include:

  • Pseudoephedrine, which opens airways by reducing swelling and counteracts drowsiness caused by anti-histamines in combination products. These products are sold behind-the-counter at the pharmacy.
  • Levomethamphetamine or propylhexedrine, found in nasal inhalants.
  • Epinephrine, which is available as a metered dose inhaler or tablets sold to clear congestion in the lungs, or for relief from asthma.

These products will often have a “D” in the name or be marketed as the non-drowsy, or the “daytime” version of a medication.

Use the UFC Wallet Card

Athletes considering cold, flu, and allergy products can also reference the UFC Wallet Card, which lists international generic names of active ingredients frequently found in everyday medications. The Wallet Card is available in seven languages and can easily be kept on-hand for reference.

Search Products on Global DRO

When choosing a cold, flu, or allergy product, make sure to search for them on UFC Global DRO. UFC Global DRO provides information on the prohibited status of specific pharmaceutical products from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Some over-the-counter medicinal products are also included in the database.

However, please keep in mind that not all brands of cold and flu products are added to UFC Global DRO.

This is because there are so many new products every year, sometimes with the same name but different ingredients, making it very difficult to ensure that an athlete will select the exact version they are using from the UFC Global DRO search results. Similarly, many products made by different companies have identical names but different ingredients. For example, there are multiple companies that sell a product called “Severe Cold and Cough” but with different ingredients. Athletes have to be very careful to select the brand that exactly matches their product.

Search Ingredients on UFC Global DRO

If an exact match for an over-the-counter medication isn’t listed on UFC Global DRO, the best thing to do is find the “Drug Facts” panel on the medication and search for each “Active ingredient.” Users do not have to search for the inactive ingredients, which are usually water, glycerol, colors, or flavorings. By searching for each active ingredient, you will be better able to get the correct anti-doping status of your medication.

Ask the USADA Experts

UFC Global DRO doesn’t include products from every country, nor is it available in every language. If an athlete’s country or language isn’t supported by UFC Global DRO, the athlete can take a picture of the medication (front and back of the label) and send it to USADA’s Drug Reference Team at ufcdrugreference@usada.org or call (719) 785-2000, option 2.

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