Thursday, December 13, 2007

Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction

So in the course of googling up how to treat my Acute Bronchitis, which I seem to get anytime I get a cold, I discovered that I also suffer from Exercise-induced Bronchoconstriction, also known as Exercise-induced Asthma.

This happens periodically at the track, have a hard race, with a very hard sprint at the end, and I end up with a severe cough, literally within the time it takes to take a few laps to slow down and get back to the infield...

One of the common triggers for this is "vigorous exercise in cold, dry air".

Our track is covered by an air-inflated roof. And to keep it inflated they need to pump in cold air from the outside, which they then heat up, which drives the relative humidity way down. And to keep the heating bill low, they don't heat it up past about 15 C (60F). So it is, relatively speaking, cold and dry air.

The fix for this is to use a "Beta-2 Agonists" inhaler (Ventolin, Symbicort, etc.) prior to exercising.

The bad news is that officially makes you a doper according to the UCI as those are on the prohibited list.

The good news is that you can apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption. In Canada this is done through the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sports:

And we are covered here:

Abbreviated TUE (ATUE)

It is acknowledged that some substances included on the Prohibited List are used to treat medical conditions frequently encountered in the athlete population. As such, the following substances are subject to the ATUE process:

  • Beta-2 Agonists by inhalation only (formoterol, salbutamol, salmeterol, and terbutaline); and
  • Glucocorticosteroids administered by intra-articular and local injections, and by inhalation.
The ATUE process differs depending on the athlete's category. Some athletes no longer have to apply for an ATUE at the time the medication is prescribed. The Abbreviated Therapeutic Use Exemption Guidelines provide complete detail on how the process applies to different groups of athletes.

So the even better news is that for us lowly "domestic" racers, all we need to do is have the Doctors prescription prior to use of the drug. And file a TUE form on request. I.e. if/when you actually get tested, and the test is positive, then you need to have your Doctor fill in the form and send it in.

This is for Canada, other countries may have different requirements. But this does seem to be a reasonable policy. Reasonable use under a doctors supervision is allowed without prior notice. But your doctor must be willing to say that you had a valid prescription prior to the use.

The only fuzzy area in the summary was the discussion on "international-level" athletes. They are required to file the TUE prior to any events.

I know I ain't one... :-)

But if I go down to Seattle to do a Cat 4 race, does that mean I qualify? Ditto for World Masters events?

I've sent off an email asking for more information. We'll see what they say.