Testing positive for heptaminol after using octodrine
Athletes who use pre-workout supplements with octodrine – which is the same as DMHA – can therefore get into serious trouble when they have to undergo doping tests. Not so much because they test positive for DMHA, but because they test positive for a different doping agent, anti-doping scientists from German Sport University Cologne write in Drug Testing & Analysis. In the body, DMHA converts into heptaminol, the Germans discovered.
Heptaminol & DMHA
Since supplement companies discovered DMHA, doping hunters have found heptaminol in athletes’ samples – even though those athletes had not taken heptaminol. The Germans speak in their article about 2 cases, both dating from 2018, and concerning athletes who had used pre-workout formulas with DMHA.
One of those powders contained 30 milligrams of octodrine per gram. By the way, the manufacturer recommended 6 grams of powder per day, which equates to 180 milligrams of octodrine per day.
Octodrine [aka DMHA, aka 1,5-dimethylhexaneamine, aka 2-amino-6-methylheptane] was developed in the 1940s as a bronchitis drug. It is a stimulant, with a chemical structure and action very similar to that of DMAA.
In this century, octodrine was rediscovered by the supplement industry, which has since incorporated it into pre-workout formulas, energy pills and weight loss supplements. These products are also prohibited in Europe. Brussels states that pharmacological substances should not be present in supplements.
Octodrine has been on the WADA doping list since 2020.
Heptaminol has a slightly more complex structural formula than octodrine, and a similar stimulant effect. Heptaminol is an old medicine for low blood pressure, which was developed in the middle of the last century and is still on the market as a veterinary medicine in a number of countries. It has been used for doping and has been on the doping list for many years.
The researchers gave a subject a dose of 30 milligrams of octodrine, and then monitored the subject’s urine for 95 hours. As you can see below, the researchers found more heptaminol than octodrine in it.
“The presence of heptaminol in a doping control sample may not only originate from an administration of heptaminol but also from the ingestion of octodrine”, the Germans conclude.
“Future laboratory statistics might need to outline the fact that heptaminol-related adverse analytical findings could also be the result of octodrine use for more accurate reporting and interpretation of statistics concerning drug prevalence and (mis)use.”
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