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Epo for clots

knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
edited March 2008 in Pro race
In more senses than one?

I read this morning that newly-published studies in the USA and Germany have concluded that regular taking of Epo increases the chances of having a blood clot in the legs or lungs by 60%, with the then follow-on risk of having a stroke.

Also, apparently in 10% of cases it actually creates cancer cells, thus worsening the situation of people with leukemia who receive it as part treatment, and causing cancer to develop in some of those who take Epo for other reasons.


  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    Increasing the number o oxygen carrying red cells is not limited to EPO

    The measurement of the number of red cells as a function of total blood volume or haematocrit has been used for some time to detect blood doping (either with your own or another person's) red cells by transfusion - long before EPO came along and did it pharmacologically.

    As the number of "solid particles" in blood increases so does the viscosity and the ability to flow, causing the clots.

    A normal level is about 40, and a cyclist is not allowed to race at 50.

    However it should be noted that some groups like Colombians who train an live at high altitude have higher levels to compensate for low oxygen.
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    EPO medicines come with "black box" warnings now. This means the packaging of the medicine has a black and white warning on it, much like a cigarette packet. Companies making EPO have suffered huge collapses in their share prices, what was once a blockbuster drug and a licence to print money now risks being a liability.

    This is because several studies show that in normal recommended doses, EPO can help chronically ill patients but it also significantly increases their risk of heart disease and cancer. But if you are very ill, the benefits from treatment outweigh the health risks, put simply it is better to live even if your chances of getting something nasty are increased later.

    The studies refer to normal recommended doses but remember the cheats in sport are using doses to boost their blood beyond normal levels and they have been doing this several times a year for many seasons.

    As tempting as it is to say a cheat deserves all they get, this is a step too far for me. The sad thing is few athletes looking for an edge and cutting corners will know this, the witchdoctor making money from them is unlikely to show them the health warnings.
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