Sports and medication: performance improvement vs health


Competitive sports have always been conducive to innovation and progress. Athletes are constantly looking to improve their performance, whether it’s training, nutrition, or even technological innovations. However, a question remains in the field of sport: what impact do medications have on athletes’ performance and their health? In this article, we will examine the implications of using drugs to improve athletic performance and the trade-offs it involves, while examining the delicate balance between striving for athletic excellence and maintaining health.

What motivates athletes to use medication?

Athletes, whether amateur or professional, are constantly looking for ways to improve their performance. The pressures to succeed and fierce competition are driving them to seek an advantage. A quick and effective solution for increasing strength, stamina, speed, and concentration is medication. Stimulants, EPO (erythropoietin), and anabolic steroids have become popular for improving physical performance. But these improvements come with risks.

What are the consequences of using these medications?

The use of drugs to improve performance has serious negative effects on athletes’ health. Unwanted side effects of anabolic steroids include heart problems, hormonal disorders, and liver damage. Likewise, EPO, which is used to increase red blood cell production, can increase blood viscosity and increase the risk of blood clots, which endangers the lives of athletes.

Additionally, stimulant medications, which are often used to increase focus and energy, can cause addiction and mental health problems. Athletes can have harmful effects on their mental and physical health if they abuse these substances.

Doping: a threat to sports ethics 

Doping, i.e. the use of prohibited substances to improve performance, endangers sports ethics. It undermines public confidence in the integrity of competitions and creates inequality between doped athletes and those who choose to stay clean. Doping calls into question the very essence of competition, which is based on merit, effort and training.

International and national sports organizations have established strict rules to combat doping. During competitions, anti-doping tests are carried out to assess the presence of prohibited substances in the body of athletes. People who don’t follow the rules are frequently suspended and disqualified from competing. However, the fight against doping has become more complex due to the difficulties associated with the detection of new doping substances and the evolution of test circumvention techniques.

The pros and cons of using medications in sports:

There are pros and cons of using medication in sport, but it is important to note that using drugs to improve performance is generally considered to be an unethical and illegal practice. However, there are many reasons why some athletes continue to use these substances. The pros and cons of using medication in sports include the following:

→ Benefits: 

These medications allow you to: 

  • Improving performance: Some medications, such as anabolic steroids, can increase strength, speed, and endurance, which can help athletes perform better.
  • Recover more easily: Athletes can return to competition sooner if they are subjected to certain medications, such as anti-inflammatories.
  • Managing pain: Athletes can manage their pain during competitions by using painkillers, allowing them to continue playing despite minor injuries.

→ Disadvantages: 

  • Serious side effects: Many drugs used to improve performance have serious side effects, such as heart, liver, and kidney problems, hormonal problems, psychological problems, and so on.
  • Long-term health risks: Long-term use of medication can lead to chronic health conditions, such as muscle injuries, joint problems, and addictions.
  • The legal consequences of cheating: Generally, the use of drugs to improve performance is illegal and contrary to sports ethics. Captured athletes may face suspensions, fines, and a bad reputation.
  • An imbalance between competitors: The use of medications creates a competitive imbalance, as athletes who do not use them are at a disadvantage compared to athletes who use them.

Physical Performance vs Health and Sports Ethics: The Athlete Dilemma 

Athletes are faced with a difficult choice between pursuing exceptional athletic performance and maintaining their health. They are forced to make difficult decisions about the use of medications and weigh the short-term benefits against the long-term consequences. Competition pressure, public expectations, and financial incentives can push some athletes to take reckless risks.

The principles of sports ethics include honesty, fairness, and fair competition. These fundamental principles of sport are compromised by doping. It is critical that coaches, sports organizations, fans, and athletes collaborate to promote a sports environment where integrity and fairness are respected.


The use of drugs to improve sports performance is a complex debate that will continue to evolve. It is crucial to find a balance between the pursuit of sporting excellence and the preservation of athletes’ health. While anti-doping regulations are essential to protect sports ethics, awareness, education, and support for athletes are also crucial.

Finally, athletes should be aware of the risks associated with the use of drugs to improve their performance. They need to make thoughtful choices that take into account their long-term health. Sport should not endanger the lives and health of athletes, but rather inspire and stimulate them.