Elers, J., Mørkeberg, J., Jansen, T., Belhage, B., & Backer, V. (2012). High-dose inhaled salbutamol has no acute effects on aerobic capacity or oxygen uptake kinetics in healthy trained men. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 22, 232-239.

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"The prevalence of asthma is higher among elite athletes than in the general population. This has resulted in the frequent use of anti-asthmatic medication such as beta2-agonists among asthmatic athletes. Beta2-agonists are on the prohibited list of WADA. The use of the beta2-agonist salbutamol is only permitted in therapeutic inhaled doses. Most studies have reported the lack of ergogenic effects of therapeutic doses of inhaled beta2-agonists measured in maximal oxygen uptake. No previous studies have examined any possible effects of high-dose inhaled salbutamol on oxygen uptake kinetics."

Healthy well-trained men (N = 9) were randomly assigned to 1) inhalation of 40 puffs of 0.2 mg salbutamol, or 2) ingestion of two placebo tablets. Ss performed an incremental test to exhaustion and three submaximal tests at 75% of peak power to determine oxygen uptake kinetics.

During the incremental test, there were no effects of inhaled salbutamol on VO2max in absolute or relative terms, and no effect on peak power and lactate threshold. During the submaximal tests, there were no effects on the time constant, time delay, the mean response time, or O2 deficit related to oxygen uptake kinetics.

Implication. There are no ergogenic effects of a high dose of salbutamol on aerobic capacity. One has to ask why is this a banned substance when asthma-like symptoms are so prevalent in sports.

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