Beating the pre-competition drug test
By: Marylin Salgado
You’ve had a miserable cold for about 3 or 4 days. The sneezing, watery eyes and runny nose are making your workouts unbearable. Besides, you have a powerlifting competition and you’ve been working your ass off. You call your doctor and he advises you to go buy some over the counter (OTC) cold remedy, like Sudafed or Nyquil and add some Tylenol or Motrin for general discomfort. You confidently buy your meds, rest a few days and get ready to compete.
Competition day is here, and you are pumped up and ready to go. Your coach is confidently talking about a win. Upon entry to the competition hall, you check in, get the little pee-pee cup provided, and turn in your sample. You already know the routine. You calmly turn in your cup, then sit and wait to be cleared. Instead, you get disqualified for having dirty urine.
You plead with the committee but there is just no way they will let you compete. You are just about ready to break down. All those weeks of dieting, supplementing, and rigorous workouts…. right down the drain. I am pretty sure the above sequence of events does not exactly happen this way for a competition. I am sure there are different scenarios and guidelines. I can certainly research to my hearts content and detail everything out for you, but this blog is not about that. And if you already compete, you don’t need those boring details. What you might need to know is what’s coming next.
What caused the poor guy or gal in my story to have that dirty urine was the over the counter medicine. In this blog, I will name quite a few meds that can cause false-positive results to a urine sample. A false positive is exactly that, a result that falsely gives a positive result to a drug you have not actually ingested.
For those of you that compete extensively or rarely ever get sick, this information might either be repetitive or unknown. Your coach, if you have one, might have told you not to take any type of OTC drugs before a competition, or your coach might innocently advise you call your doc and take a few OTC’s before you do compete so you can perform to your full potential. Below I will list a few of the hundreds of meds in the market that can cause you to have a dirty urine. Some of them even surprised me.
List of most commonly used drugs and what their false positive results are (or can be):
Advil (brand name ibuprofen) – false positive for THC and Marijuana
Aleve (brand name naproxen) – false positive for THC and Marijuana
Alka Seltzer Plus – false positive for Amphetamines and Morphine
Antibiotics (can range depending which is prescribed) – false positive for Cocaine and Heroin
Asthma medications – false positive Amphetamines and Ecstasy
B-2 vitamin – false positive for THC
Benadryl – false positive for PCP
Cough Suppressants with Dextromethorphan (DXM) – false positive for Heroin
Dimetapp – false positive for Amphetamines, Morphine, Meth, and Ecstasy
Excedrin – false positive for Marijuana and THC
Ibuprofen – false positive for Marijuana
Midol – (women may use for menstrual cramps) – false positive for THC and Marijuana
Nasal sprays (Vicks inhaler, Afrin) – false positive for Amphetamines and Ecstasy
Nyquil – false positive for Amphetamines, Heroin, Opiates, Meth, Ecstasy, and Methadone
Robitussin – false positive for Opiates
Sudafed – false positive for Amphetamines, Meth, and Ecstasy
Tonic Water – (ok, I know it’s not a medication) – but may test false positive for Cocaine
Tylenol Cold – false positive for Amphetamines and Ecstasy
Unisom Nighttime Sleep Aid – false positive for Morphine
And the list goes on and on. Literally countless amounts of medications that can have an adverse result on a urine test.
And if you so choose to take a Pediatric (or children’s dose) medication, just to take the edge off, don’t bother. You might test false positive for Opiates. Keep in mind that not everyone metabolizes medications the same way and the individual being tested might have a false positive for one or if not all the drugs listed.
Here is some sound advice if you are sick before a competition and fear having a dirty urine.
- Go to your doctor, explain the situation and ask to be tested for a drug panel a few days before the competition.
- Find alternate ways to treat your cold. As a nurse of 14 years, I can advise the best way to treat is chicken noodle soup, water, electrolyte replenishing drinks, and plenty of rest. The human body is capable of healing itself. Think about how many thousands of years we evolutionized and survived without medications. We are not extinct…. food for thought.
- If you have a coach, communicate your concerns with him or her.
Take time and do some research on your own before entering a competition. The International Powerlifting Federation has an Anti-Doping Q&A that explains in detail rules and guidelines according to the World Anti-Doping Agency. It even explains what their rules are if you are taking a medication that is being legitimately prescribed by a physician. For those states that have legalized Marijuana, legal or not, it is still a drug, whether you are using it recreationally or hold a Marijuana medical card. Please call a professional in your area or speak to your coach, if this should also be a concern of yours.
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