skip to content

Human anti-doping


If you're competing at affiliated national or international level, it's vital that you understand the rules and guidance surrounding anti-doping for both humans and equines. This section of the website focuses on the rules around human anti-doping – to find out more about equine anti-doping, click here.

Human anti-doping rules exist to protect the health and welfare of athletes at the same time as protecting the integrity of the sport itself and ensuring a level playing field. British Equestrian supports both the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) and UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) in its human anti-doping work.

The Prohibited substance List for human athletes

The World Anti Doping Agency Prohibited List for 2024, which came into effect on 1 January, is now available. The list can also be found on the FEI's Clean Sport Hub

Athletes who take regular medication should recheck their medication against the List. If they take a medication that's changed status (is now prohibited), they should apply for a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption) where necessary.

Key changes for 2024

Athlete support personnel should ensure they are familiar with the 2024 List and its changes. 

  • Tramadol – Tramadol will be prohibited in-competition under Section 7 Narcotics. UKAD has produced specific guidelines and resources for a number of common medical conditions requiring a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) which also includes tramadol. Click here to find out more. 
  • Removal of plasmapheresis as a prohibited method – The donation of plasma or plasma components by plasmapheresis will no longer be prohibited when performed in a registered collection centre.
  • Tramazoline – Tramazoline has been added to Section 6 Stimulants as an example of an imidazoline derivative which is permitted when administered by dermatological, nasal, ophthalmic, or otic routes. It is prohibited by any other route of administration.

UKAD has also published a summary of the major changes on their website.

What are prohibited substances? 

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) publishes and maintains a list of the substances and methods which are: 

  • Prohibited at all times (both in-competition and out-of-competition)
  • Prohibited in-competition* only (athletes can be tested for these substances or methods during the in-competition period. The substance/method is not forbidden at other times)
  • Prohibited in specific sports only

Within these categories, some substances are "conditional" – athletes are allowed to take up to a specific dose or within a specific dosage range but outside of that dose or range the substance is prohibited (for example, some ingredients found in asthma inhalers). Other conditional substances are those that are only prohibited by the way they are taken (route of administration) - for example, applied as a cream, or swallowed, or inhaled.

The FEI defines the in-competition period as the period commencing one (1) hour before the beginning of the first horse inspection the day before a competition in which the athlete is scheduled to participate through to the end of the last competition at the event for that athlete or the sample collection process related to such competition.

If you have any questions on the Prohibited List or a medication you may be using, please contact

In the Prohibited List, substances and methods are classified by category (e.g. steroids, stimulants, gene doping). The Prohibited List is updated annually and comes into effect on 1 January. It is published three months before earlier (i.e. 1 October) so athletes have the time to review any changes and apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for their current medical treatment if necessary.

Athletes have a duty to:

  • Familiarise themselves with the Prohibited List and make sure to always be updated on the latest version;
  • Systematically ask their medical practitioners to verify that no medication, supplement or treatment they are taking (prescribed or not) involves prohibited substances or methods;
  • Apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption if a prescribed treatment involves prohibited substances or methods;
  • When purchasing over-the-counter medication, consult their national anti-doping agency or ask the pharmacist to check that the medication does not contain anything prohibited on the Prohibited List currently in force;
  • Be extremely cautious with and generally avoid dietary and nutritional supplements; never assume that a product is safe to use simply because it is a supplement. Many supplements contain undeclared ingredients including illegal stimulants, steroids, and prescription medications.

Wada Anti-Doping Code and British equestrian anti-doping

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sets out the World Anti-Doping Code – a set of anti-doping rules under which all sports in all countries across the world must operate. It is critical that all athletes competing at both a national and international level, and their support personnel and partners, appreciate that the anti-doping system applies to them and ensure that they are fully aware of the the Code.

Read the WADA Code

Responsibility for human anti-doping at international level in equestrian sport falls to the FEI. At national level, British Equestrian has its own human anti-doping rules, but the programme is managed by UKAD.


Athletes Rights and Responsibilities

Strict liability means that you are solely responsible for any banned substance you use, attempt to use, or is found in your system, regardless of how it got there or whether there was any intention to cheat.

In anti-doping, not knowing is not an excuse!

Anti-doping rule violations

There are 11 Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs). All 11 apply to athletes, while two (in bold) also apply to athlete support personnel and five (in bold) also apply to athlete support personnel and other persons. 

Apply to athletes only

  1. Presence
  2. Use or attempted use
  3. Evading, refusing or failing to submit to sample collection
  4. Whereabouts failures

Apply to athletes and athlete support personnel

  1. Possession
  2. Administration

Apply to athletes, athlete support personnel and other persons

  1. Tampering or attempted tampering
  2. Trafficking or attempted trafficking
  3. Complicity or attempted complicity
  4. Prohibited association
  5. Acts by an athlete or other person to discourage or retaliate against reporting to authorities



Minors are classified as athletes who are under 18 years of age. It's important that parents understand what this means and how it impacts on you and your child. Under the Anti-Doping Rules your child is responsible for any prohibited substance they use, attempt to use or is found in their system, even if they had no intention to cheat. 



How to check if your medication is permitted 

First, you need to check if the medication is permitted or not. To do this, you will need to check the status of the medication on GlobalDRO. The Global Drug Reference Online  provides athletes and support personnel with information about the prohibited status of specific medications. 

If the medication is prohibited, then you need to check to see if you need to apply for a Therapeutic Use Excemption (TUE).



Athletes, like all people, may have illnesses or conditions that require them to take particular medications or undergo procedures. If the medication or method an athlete is required to take/use to treat an illness or condition is included in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Prohibited List, a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) makes it possible for the athlete to take the treatment while remaining in compliance with the anti-doping rules.

How to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE)

FEI Athlete – Should you apply for a TUE?

Use the UKAD TUE Wizard if you are unsure who to submit your application to. UKAD TUE WIZARD

Using Supplements

Dietary supplements can be broadly defined as products containing a concentrated source of nutrients or other substances that have a nutritional or physiological effect. 

All athletes are advised to be vigilant in using any supplement. No guarantee can be given that any particular supplement is free from prohibited substances. An important principle of the Code is that of strict liability, which states that athletes are solely responsible for any prohibited substances they use, attempt to use or is found in their system regardless of how it got there and if there was an intention to cheat. Before taking supplements, athletes must therefore assess the need, risk and consequences to their careers.

Check out the UKAD Supplements Hub to find out more about the risk of taking supplements and how to manage them, plus what you should look for on an ingredients label. 

Informed Sport is an assurance certification programme for sports supplements. Products carrying the Informed Sport mark have been regularly tested for substances considered prohibited in sport. In addition, Informed Sport also ensures that products have been manufactured to high-quality standards. All athletes are advised to be vigilant in using any supplement because they could receive a four-year ban.

FEI Clean Sport 

All information regarding international anti-doping regulations can also be found on the FEI Clean Sport Hub, which provides information on their two anti-doping programmes – the FEI Rules for Human Athletes and the FEI Rules for Equine Athletes.   

International Testing Agency

The International Testing Agency, often referred to by the acronym ITA, is an independent organisation which implements anti-doping programs for international sports federations such as the FEI. The ITA is supporting FEI with the delivery of their anti-doping program since January 2019.

ITA currently carries out the following services on behalf of the FEI...

  • In-competiton testing
  • Out of competition testing
  • Test distributuon planning   
  • Education
  • Therapeutic use excemptions (TUES)
  • Long-term storage and re-analysis
  • Results management 
  • Athlete whereabouts

report doping

If you have any concerns about possible doping in sport, we want to hear from you. Even if you think your information seems minor, we want to hear about it.

Please contact us if you:

  • are concerned about the behaviour or practices of an athlete, coach or support personnel
  • suspect someone might be doping
  • have witnessed doping in sport
  • have been offered banned substances.

All information is regarded as confidential.