Pseudoephedrine (PSE) is an over-the-counter decongestant that might have ergogenic effects. The World Anti-Doping Agency has prohibited large doses (>150 μg/mL) of PSE, while the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) does not include it on their banned-substance list.
This study examined the effect of body-weight dosing of PSE on 800-m-run times of NCAA female runners.
Fifteen NCAA female track athletes volunteered to participate in the randomized, double-blind, crossover design. Participants were given 2.5 mg/kg PSE or placebo in trials separated by a week. Ninety minutes postingestion, participants completed an 800-m individual time trial on an indoor track. Finishing time was recorded with an automated video timing device. Heart rate and anxiety state scores were recorded immediately after each trial.
Fourteen runners completed both trials, and 1 was an outlier: N = 13. Despite the dose being well above normal therapeutic levels (144 ± 17 mg), there was no significant difference (P = .92) in 800-m times between PSE (2:39.447 ± 9.584) and placebo (2:39.372 ± 9.636) trials, in postexercise heart rate (P = .635; PSE = 177.9 ± 14.5 beats/min, placebo = 178.4 ± 18.5 beats/min), or in anxiety-state levels (P = .650; PSE = 38.4 ± 11.6, placebo = 38.1 ± 8.8).
A 2.5-mg/kg dose of PSE had no effect on 800-m performance for female NCAA runners. More research is needed to determine if PSE should be a specified banned substance.