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Letters to the editor

Editor, Professor P. Baume's editorial 'Drugs in sport' (Aust Prescr 1994;17:78-9) was complete except for his failure to cover the important role of the Australian Sports Commission Medical Advisory Panel (MAP).

There are some situations where medical practitioners, for sound therapeutic reasons, need to prescribe a banned substance. Examples would be oral corticosteroids in asthma or colitis, testosterone replacement in agonadism and methylphenidate use in attention deficit disorder.

The role of the MAP is to examine such cases and assist doctors and athletes who would otherwise be disadvantaged by the avoidance of a therapeutic, but sport-banned, substance.

Doctors can contact the MAP by writing to:

Dr R. Smith
Australian Institute of Sport
PO Box 176
Belconnen ACT 2616

Peter Harcourt
Medical Consultant
Victorian Institute of Sport
South Melbourne, Vic.

Editor, I read with interest the editorial by Professor P. Baume on 'Drugs in sport'. I am very concerned about the matter, of course, as are all sports administrators.

However, I have become concerned over another related matter, i.e. the introduction of drug testing to veteran sports and its implication for menopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy which includes testosterone. I believe that this is an important matter which should be brought to the attention of your readers. The current situation is that a doctor's certificate produced for verification will enable women who could test positive to be cleared.

However, the authorities have yet to take a position on the issue and because of the abuse of testosterone by young elite athletes and the current situation of the Chinese female swimmers, I am concerned that they may prohibit it entirely.

I have received advice and support from the Australian Menopause Society which endorses the legitimate use of testosterone, particularly in cases of loss of libido, loss of energy, depression and headaches which do not respond to oestrogen alone.

The full text of my paper 'Drug testing in veteran women athletes with special reference to hormone replacement therapy' appears in Sport Health (the official journal of Sports Medicine Australia) Vol. 12 No. 3, 1994.

Wendy Ey
Executive Director
Women's Sport Foundation of Western Australia Inc.
Floreat, W.A.

Peter Harcourt

Medical Consultant, Victorian Institute of Sport, South Melbourne, Vic.

Wendy Ey

Executive Director, Women's Sport Foundation of Western Australia Inc, Floreat, W.A.

Peter Baume

Professor and Head, School of Community Medicine, University Of New South Wales, Sydney

Chair, Australian Sports Drug Agency

Philip Cohen

Research Officer, Australian Sports Drug Agency