But what’s all the fuss about with this drug?
Here are some quick facts to get you up to speed:
- -It is marketed as Mildronate by Latvian-based company, Grindeks. The company describes it as an anti-ischemic cell protector in patients with angina pectoris, chronic heart failure and brain circulation disorders. Ischemia is a restriction of blood supply to issues which meldonium helps to alleviate.
- -The drug is distributed across Eastern Europe, but has not been approved by the FDA in America. It is commonly taken across the region for heart conditions, as indicated, but is also available for purchase online.
- -Researchers from Center for Preventive Doping Research in Cologne published a paper in December 2015 criticised its use. They wrote: “The anti-ischemic drug Mildronate demonstrates an increase in endurance performance of athletes, improved rehabilitation after exercise, protection against stress, and enhanced activations of central nervous system functions.”
- -The World Anti-Doping Agency only added the drug to its list of banned substances this year, stating that it had done so because of evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance.
- -Grindeks, however, has issued a statement claiming that the drug is not a performance enhancer and should not be banned, despite the company’s indication that it “improves physical capacity and mental function in the case of ischemia and in healthy people.”
- -Sharapova is not the first to have tested positive for the substance since it was banned on January 1. Many, like the five-time grand slam winner, were shocked to find that they had tested positive for a banned substance. Russian ice dancer, Ekaterina Bobrova, was “shocked” when she tested positive for meldonium, claiming that she had been made aware of its new ban and was careful to avoid that and other banned substances. Other athletes to have tested positive include Swedish middle-distance runner, Abeba Aregawi; Ethiopian long-distance runner, Endeshaw Negesse, and Russian cyclist, Eduard Vorganov.
- -Sharapova is almost certain to be banned, with a minimum of two years common for breaching anti-doping regulations. According to the Guardian, her legal team will seek a reduction in the suspension, citing precedent in the cases of Victor Troicki and Maran Cilic, who had bans reduced on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. (Ver)