predict and report the adverse effects of drugs, hence resulting in harmful and possibly fatal sideeffects to the user. A toxicology report for every drug must be presented to the FDA, and fromthere on it is decided whether or not a drug is safe enough to be approved. This project exploresthe principles of toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics, outlining exactly what happens when anindividual administers a drug. This includes absorption into the bloodstream, distribution aroundthe body, metabolism in the liver and finally, the elimination of the drug. By examining thetoxicokinetics of each individual drug, it can be predicted whether or not a toxic response willoccur. It is important that athletes are educated on such a subject so they are familiar with therisks involved in abusing a drug for the purpose of performance enhancement, not to mention thepossible disqualification from competition.Despite the known adverse effects of drugs which are commonly abused in sport, their use byathletes is inevitable. Every four years when the Olympic Games take place, athletes aredisqualified and stripped from their title due to their illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs.This 'information booklet' aims to educate Olympic qualifiers and their coaching teams on theessentials of toxicology and the dangers of drug abuse in sport, in the effort to minimise thenumber of athletes abusing drugs in this years' Olympic Games. This project explores the effects adrug can have on the body and how these effects come about, as well as drug detection methodsused before and during the Olympic Games. The associated health consequences which may resultfrom their use are also explored, using common examples. The performance enhancing drugswhich will be used as examples in this project are
Continuous Erythropoietin Stimulation Agent(CERA)
, a drug which caused a high level of controversy in the 2008 Olympic Games, and
a well-known anabolic steroid.
Overview of Toxicology
Toxicology, which can be defined as
the study of the adverseeffects of chemicals on a living organism
, is necessary to provethe safety or danger of drugs. Theoretically, every knownchemical has the ability to produce a poisonous effect if presentin a sufficient amount. There are many ways in which a chemicalcan be exposed to, absorbed and metabolized in the body andwhether a toxic response occurs or not is dependent on thesefactors. Other factors include the physical and chemicalproperties of the agent, as well as how often and for how longthe subject is exposed to this agent.
Figure 1 (right): A Toxic Drug
Once the chemical is broken down in the body, a toxicmanifestation can begin if the chemical's metabolites are at a high enough concentration andremain at the site of damage for a sufficient amount of time. In therapeutics, most drugs producea broad spectrum of effects, only one or two of which are desired. All of these other unwantedeffects can be classified as
. (Klaassen, 2003)