The use of prohibited substances for therapeutic reasons in athletes affected by endocrine diseases and disorders: the therapeutic use exemption (TUE) in clinical endocrinology

L Di Luigi, F Pigozzi, P Sgrò, L Frati, A Di Gianfrancesco, M Cappa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


To protect sporting ethics and athletes' health, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) produced the World Anti-Doping Code and The Prohibited List of substances and methods forbidden in sports. In accordance with the International Standards for Therapeutic Use Exemption (ISTUE), to avoid rule violations and sanctions, athletes affected by different endocrine diseases and disorders (e.g., adrenal insufficiency, diabetes, male hypogonadisms, pituitary deficit, thyroid diseases, etc.) who need to use a prohibited substance for therapeutic reasons (e.g., medical treatments, surgical procedures, clinical diagnostic investigations) must apply to their respective Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) to obtain a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), if specific criteria are respected. The physicians who treat these athletes (i.e., endocrinologists, andrologists and diabetologists) are highly involved in these procedures and should be aware of their specific role and responsibility in applying for a TUE, and in adequately monitoring unhealthy athletes treated with prohibited substances. In this paper, the prohibited substances commonly used for therapeutic reasons in endocrine diseases and disorders (e.g., corticotropins, beta-blockers, glucocorticoids, hCG, insulin, GnRH, rhGH, testosterone, etc.), the role of physicians in the TUE application process and the general criteria used by ADO-Therapeutic Use Exemption Committees (TUECs) for granting a TUE are described.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Nov 16 2019


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