The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced in November that Tucson, Arizona triathlete Lisa Roberts accepted a public warning for violating anti-doping rules. This happened a while ago, but it’s an important and instructive case, as you’ll see below.
Why this is important: Roberts was nailed on a technicality after declaring her doctor-prescribed use of a prohibited substance during Challenge Roth 2017. This should be a warning to all triathletes to make sure to follow all required procedures.
Details: In July, 2017, Roberts declared using a Breo Ellipta inhaler containing vilanterol trifenatate (or trifernate) as prescribed by her doctor, which she used during the Challenge Roth triathlon in Germany. Her urine also tested positive for it. Vilanterol is a Beta-2 agonist, all of which are universally prohibited substances under the rules of USADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and all other major anti-doping agencies worldwide.
The USADA determined Roberts was using the inhaler under a doctor’s care, but she failed to secure the required Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). She acquired a TUE later on, but her Challenge Roth results were still disqualified.
How to Make Sure This Doesn’t Happen to You: The USADA has created an FAQ page about asthma inhalers and how to apply for a TUE. You can find it at https://www.usada.org/asthma-inhalers-important-update/. WADA’s instructions are at https://www.wada-ama.org/en/what-we-do/science-medical/therapeutic-use-exemptions.
Roberts later won Ironman Louisville on 15th October.