A certain well-known cyclist has been accused of crossing an ethical line, not of breaking any rules, just of not being as moralistic as politicians would expect. In the words of Mick Jagger back in the 1960s: “We do have morals, they’re just not the same as yours”.
The cyclist has been accused of being dosing up on triamcinolone. It’s a corticosteroid (which is an anti-inflammatory agent). This compound does not work like anabolic steroids which are more usually talked about as the bodybuilding drugs in the context of sport).
So, what is the supposed enhancement to sporting performance of this drug? It’s commonly used to damp down inflammation in asthma, eczema, and other inflammatory conditions. It can be injected into painful, arthritic joints too, and there’s a rectally administered version, which is presumably for colitis. I can see that if you’re training hard as an athlete, then you’re going to have a lot of inflammation, damping this down might allow you to get back on the proverbial treadmill sooner rather than later. However, that doesn’t seem to me to be a non-medical use, and it’s definitely not performance enhancing, it’s simply recovery-time shortening. Unless you have an actual medical inflammatory condition, such as asthma, in which case that is actually a medical use and would be allowed and ethical.
Either way, it’s an allowed prescription drug, so is anyone in the wrong if they’re using it in sport, if everyone is allowed to use it, then it’s a moral decision or I would suggest a misguided use, and not gamesmanship nor cheating, until the sports authorities actually ban it, surely?
For those interested in the chemical side, triamcinolone is
Also known as: Aristocort (Sandoz, now Novartis), Kenacort (Bristol-Myers Squibb), Kenalog (Bristol-Myers Squibb), Tricort (Cadila), Triaderm (Schering-Plough), Azmacort (KOS), Trilone, Volon A, Tristoject, Tricortone, Ratio-Triacomb, and Trianex.