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Pain Medications: Prohibited v. Permitted

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Pain medications are something that athletes may need to use at some point. Athletes competing in the UFC, however, need to know what products are allowed.

Under the UFC Anti-Doping Program, there are some pain medications prohibited in-competition and some medications that are permitted. To determine if your prescribed or over-the-counter medications are prohibited or permitted, search the brand name or ingredients on UFC Global DRO.

The list below also provides some examples of prohibited and permitted pain medications. But remember, this list is NOT all inclusive and there may be substances that are prohibited that are not named here. For more examples of prohibited and permitted pain relievers, check out the UFC Wallet Card.


By Mouth

  • Acetaminophen
  • (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen
  • (Advil, Motrin)
  • Naproxen
  • (Aleve, Anaprox)
  • Excedrin
  • Fioricet
  • Imitrex
  • Lortab
  • Midol Complete
  • Norco
  • Vicodin

Topical Creams/Patches

  • Bengay
  • (camphor, menthol, salicylates)
  • Lidocaine
  • (Lidoderm)
  • Hot/icy patches


Local Injections/trigger point treatment

  • Dry-needle
  • Cortisone/corticosteroid into a joint
  • Saline

Prohibited In-Competition


  • (Belbuca, Buprenex, Butrans, Probuphine, Sublocade, Suboxone, Zubsolv)



  • (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Ionsys, Lazanda, Sublimaze, Subsys) and its derivatives like sufentanil or remifentanil



  • (Dialudid, Exalgo)



  • (Dolophine, Methadose)



  • (Arymo ER, Avinza, Kadian, MorphaBond ER, MS Contin, MSIR)



  • (Endocet, Oxaydo, Oxycontin, Percocet, Primlev Roxicodone, Xtampza ER)



  • (Opana)



  • (Talwin)


Meperidine (also called Pethidine)

  • (Demerol)


Dextromoramide, Nicomorphine, Diamorphine

  • (heroin with no approved medical use)


The following cannabinoids are prohibited in-competition:

  • Natural cannabinoids, including cannabis, hashish and marijuana
  • Synthetic cannabinoids, including Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabimimetics

Cannabidiol, including CBD oil, is now permitted. However, cannabidiol extracted from cannabis plants may contain varying concentrations of THC, which remains a prohibited substance. More information on CBD is available here: Cannabidiol in 2018.

As always, athletes competing in the UFC should also check the status of medications and products with state commissions, as the commissions may utilize different prohibited lists.

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