Technische Universität München

The Entrepreneurial University

Beta-2 agonists work by copying certain effects of natural chemicals - adrenaline and noradrenaline - produced in the organism. These chemicals prepare the body for particular situations, like stressful situations during exercise (they are also released as a part of the 'fight or flight' reaction). Effects of these chemicals are to open up the airways so that more air can reach the lungs, and to prepare the muscles and metabolic responses to overcome a stressful situation.

Asthma, exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, and airway hyper-responsiveness are often found in elite athletes, probably as a consequence of their sport or maybe because asthma is a common disorder in young adults. Inhaled beta-2 agonists (IBA) are frequently used by elite athletes, but due to regulations introduced by the International Olympic Committee, the use of anti-asthmatic therapy might change. Drugs that unfold persisting ergogenic effects are prohibited in all athletes, whether or not they take part in competitions and beta-2 agonists are among such drugs. The benefits of the use of IBA´s are controversial. Some studies observed that therapeutic doses of IBA do not affect the oxygen uptake or increase the performance of runners either in asthmatics or non-asthmatics, whereas other studies reported that high doses of a beta-2 agonist have an ergogenic effect and result in a better lung function in non-asthmatics.