How meldonium, drug for the heart, got a bad namehttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/sport-others/how-meldonium-drug-for-the-heart-got-a-bad-name-5074616/

How meldonium, drug for the heart, got a bad name

Also known as Mildronate, the meldonium saga is getting as long as its chemical name — 3-(2,2,2-trimethylhydraziniumyl) propionate.

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Russian Winter Games bronze medallist Alexander Krushelnitsky  (in pic) tested positive for meldonium in curling. (Source: Reuters)

Why is meldonium in news
Also known as Mildronate, the meldonium saga is getting as long as its chemical name — 3-(2,2,2-trimethylhydraziniumyl) propionate. What came into sharp focus after Maria Sharapova was banned for this drug in 2016, got a tad bizarre when Russian Winter Games bronze medallist Alexander Krushelnitsky  (in pic) tested positive for meldonium in curling, a sport that is low intensity and hardly needs Herculean endurance. Meldonium is manufactured by Grindeks, a Latvian pharmaceutical company.

Where is meldonium used in medicine?
It is used to treat ischemia, where tissues are deprived of blood supply causing a shortage of oxygen and glucose needed for cellular metabolism. It is widely available over the counter across east Europe and Russia. It gives sufferers of heart conditions more “physical capacity and a similar boost to healthy people.

Why the WADA ban?
Meldonium was banned because it aids oxygen uptake and endurance, and several athletes across international sports were caught using it. It was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of banned substances on 16 September 2015 effective starting 1 January 2016 and was previously monitored by the anti-doping agency.

In the dock
A member of the Olympic gold medal-winning Russian ice dancing team at the 2014 Winter Olympics Ekaterina Bobrova tested positive. Russian cyclist Eduard Vorganov test positive. World champion 1,500m runner Abeba Aregawi had tested positive for meldonium in 2013. Two other cases involved Ukrainians competing in the winter sport of biathlon.

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What are the drug manufacturers saying?
While Grindeks has previously stated that the drug can provide an “improvement of work capacity of healthy people, including during rehabilitation period,” the company when in the eye of the storm, had added that it believed the substance would not enhance athletes’ performance in competition and might even do the opposite. Grindeks had told AP that in sports activity, the drug slows down how the body breaks down fatty acids to produce energy.

Why did meldonium gain notoreity?
A sizable minority of athletes were using it before it was banned. In 2016, the US-based Partnership for Clean Competition, an anti-doping group, said meldonium was found in 182 of 8,300 urine samples from athletes as part of a study part-funded by the PCC. It raised heckles because chances of all those athletes suffering from the same ailment were thin.