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Other Names

  • EPO


  • Used by endurance athletes such as long distance runners and cyclists to increase maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max).
  • Increases oxygen carrying capacity by increasing Hgb and Hct levels.

Performance Enhancing Effects

Medical Indications

  • Treatment of anemia secondary to:
    • Chronic Kidney Disease
    • Zidovudine
    • Chemotherapy


Adverse Reactions

  • Myocardial infarction
  • Stroke
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Venous thromboembolism


  • Activates JAK2 signaling cascade via binding to erythropoietin receptor. This leads to proliferation of the erythroid cell and increased hemoglobin and hematocrit.
    • Increased hemoglobin and hematocrit increases oxygen carrying capacity.

WADA Considerations

  • EPO has been banned by WADA since the early 1990s.


  • Testing began at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia in 2000.
  • Testing can be done via blood or urine.
  • Testing validity was supported by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
    • Support for the test was reiterated by the WADA Laboratory Committee in September, 2005. [1]

See Also


  1. EPO Detection. World Anti-Doping Agency. https://www.wada-ama.org/en/questions-answers/epo-detection#item-628. Published January 15, 2015. Accessed July 11, 2019.
Created by:
John Kiel on 9 July 2019 00:08:29
Last edited:
11 July 2019 03:03:22