What is Roxadustat, the prohibited drug that incriminated Simona Halep



by LORENZO CIOTTI

What is Roxadustat, the prohibited drug that incriminated Simona Halep
© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

The world of sport has once again been rocked by a doping scandal, this time involving one of the greatest tennis players of recent years, Simona Halep. In 2022, news emerged that the Romanian tennis player had tested positive for Roxadustat, a drug attributed to positive effects on athletic performance.

In 2023, Halep was disqualified for using this banned dance. In this article we will analyze in detail what Roxadustat is, its effects on the physique of athletes and the reasons why it is prohibited in sport. Roxadustat is a drug developed to treat anemia due to chronic renal failure.

It occurs when the kidneys are unable to produce enough of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO) to stimulate the production of red blood cells. Roxadustat works by increasing the production of EPO and stimulating the formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow.

The benefits of Roxadustat for athletes are due to the increase in the number of red blood cells in the body. Increasing the amount of red blood cells has the potential to improve oxygen delivery to tissues and muscles during strenuous exercise.

This could increase athletes' endurance and aerobic capacity, allowing them to sustain superior physical performance.

Roxadustat, the prohibited drug that incriminated Simona Halep

Despite its positive effects on red blood cell production, Roxadustat has been included in the list of banned substances by the Agencia Mundial Antidopaje (AMA).

The main reason is that the drug can alter the body's natural hormonal balance, providing an artificial advantage to athletes. Using Roxadustat is an anti-doping rule violation because it can induce false negative results in tests for EPO and can be used to mask the use of other prohibited substances.

Simona Halep's positivity to Roxadustat in 2022 had severe consequences for her career. The Romanian tennis player was disqualified for four years, preventing her from participating in important tournaments and depriving her of the opportunity to further improve her position in the world rankings.

According to many analysts, colleagues (and many haters), her reputation has been seriously damaged, calling into question all her previous victories and successes. Furthermore, Halep has always declared herself innocent, and in these hours she has officially appealed to the CAS.

Roxadustat alters the body's natural hormonal balance and can be used to conceal the use of other prohibited substances.

Simona Halep