Maria Sharapova recently in a press conference revealed that she had failed a drugs test at this year’s Australian Open. Sharapova said that she had been taking Meldonium for health reasons for a decade and had not noticed when it was banned by the World Anti Doping Agency. You people must be wondering What is Meldonium why has it got banned all of a sudden, we have answer to all of the questions Below are few point which will tell you What is Meldonium and Why is it Banned?”


What is Meldonium?

The chemical formula for the drug. Credit: Wikipedia


Meldonium is manufactured in Latvia and used medically to treat heart problems like angina and myocardial infarction. It is also an effective treatment for ischemia or lack of blood flow. It is most commonly used in Russia and it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the US.


When was Meldonium banned?

It became a prohibited substance on 1 January 2016, because of “evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance.” It had previously been on the World Anti Doping Agency‘s list of drugs to be monitored.

Why was Meldonium banned?

Wada’s monitoring of the drug found that some of its medical benefits could enhance athletic performance, especially in endurance athletes.

Meldonium doping benefits may include:

  • Increased endurance and aerobic capabilities of athletes
  • Increase rate of recovery


Meldonium is also known as Mildronate. But, why was it banned only this year?

• Meldonium is used to treat ischaemia: a lack of blood flow to parts of the body, particularly in cases of angina or heart failure.

• It is manufactured in Latvia and only distributed in Baltic countries and Russia. It is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States and is not authorised in the rest of Europe.

• It increases blood flow, which improves exercise capacity in athletes.

• Wada found “evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance” by virtue of carrying more oxygen to muscle tissue.

• The decision to add meldonium to the banned list was approved on 16 September 2015, and it came into effect on 1 January 2016. Wada had spent the previous year monitoring the drug before adding it to the banned list.

• The drug was name-checked in the latest investigative documentary on Russian doping reforms by the German Hajo Seppelt on Sunday. The documentary referred to a 2015 study in which 17% of Russian athletes (724 of 4,316) tested were found to have meldonium in their system. A global study found 2.2% of athletes had it in their system.

• L’Equipe reported that the scientific advisor to the French Agency Against Doping (AFLD), Professor Xavier Bigard, said in interviews with athletes at last year’s European Games in Baku that a wide proportion of athletes admitted taking meldonium.

• It is classed as an S4 substance under the Wada code, which addresses hormone and metabolic modulators.

• The standard ban under the World Anti-Doping Code is four years.


Meldonium company says normal course of treatment is four to six weeks

• A memo was sent out to athletes by Russia’s anti-doping agency last September informing them of the decision to ban its use.

• Sharapova says she has been taking the drug for 10 years after she was regularly falling ill. She had a magnesium deficiency and family history of diabetes.


Several athletes have been suspended since the turn of 2016 after testing positive for the dug. Abebe Aregawi, the 2013 women’s 1,500m world champion, has been provisionally suspended after meldonium was found in a sample she provided. Endeshaw Negesse, the 2015 Tokyo marathon champion, was also banned after reportedly testing positive for the same substance. Others include Olga Abramova and Artem Tyschcenko, two Ukrainian biathletes, Eduard Vorganov, a Russian cyclist and Ekaterina Bobrova, a Russian ice dancer.