EPO - erythropoietin

epo cover
Everyone has heard in recent decades, talk of EPO. Whether the medical community at the time of its discovery and its extension or a more popular way amid 1990 years with its use in sport, especially with the setting to light the team's case professional cycling "Festina" and its many twists and turns. Cycling is the most controlled sport in the world.

But behind these three letters EPO ... What are their meanings on the one hand and secondly, EPO what is it?

Definition of EPO

THE'erythropoietin (EPO) is a hormone secreted naturally by the kidneys (in 80 90%) and the liver (10 to 20%) but also the uterus. This hormone stimulates the production of Red cells which take care of the oxygen transport in the blood and therefore to the organs and muscles.

In 1983 is industrially produced from theEPO synthesisThis is a breakthrough for many people with disabilities red blood cells. This allows more opportunities for kidney who are undergoing hemodialysis, severe anemia in infants or people undergoing heavy chemotherapy against cancers. It appears in 1990 France under the name ofEprex and 1991 under the name of Neorrecormon.

epo molecule

There are several types of EPO in addition to natural EPO. Each of these types has a different molecular structure and a variable lifetime.

Le NESP requires one injection per week, the CERA itself, allowing an injection per month, and other synthetic molecules that are currently under development.


Apart from its medical use, athletes and their entourage will quickly see the value of this product that significantly increases theoxygen in blood.

The methods of this type of doping had already been used in previous decades, in other forms.

There was naturally the altitude training camps that force the body to compensate for the missing oxygen due to the altitude, then down with an excess of red blood cells produced naturally by the body several weeks before the competition. This natural way is legal and still used today as an example the XV of France team is preparing its world championships in rugby in the mountains.


Then the drift began. In 50 / 60 years, swimmers or gymnasts from Eastern countries (East Germany, GDR and USSR) "fell" voluntarily, or were "forced" to be pregnant. The body then takes advantage of the natural production of hormones, and the pregnancy was interrupted 3 6 or months later.


bloodHas arrived, then the system blood transfusions. The approach was simple: take a certain amount of blood he had stored, continue training during which the body was then obliged to make himself the missing cells, and a few days before the competitions will inject the blood sample. This approach was very heavy in terms of storage. An Italian rider foot also was excluded and suspended, caught in the act in 1980 years.


Then came the "Belgian pot". This product comes from the cyclist medium used to describe a product totally prohibited, which was a mixture of doping products and not only. It contained amphetamines, painkillers, heroin, cocaine, etc ... Most of the time this was done completely traditional way, with all the risks that one can imagine on the health of athletes.

This doping said "the poor" had firstly a physical risk, but on the other hand, an important psychological risk. Indeed, products containing narcotic drugs, some athletes are still dependent on the dopant, several years after a career break.


With EPO doping became a professional and large-scale!

Indeed, an Italian doctor at the time, Dr. Conconi, popularized the practice in Italy, and the bike world will gradually be invaded.

Because EPO is a great product for those who want to cheat. It is more difficult to detect all existing products on the market through regular urine tests and the price of his research is expensive. We must not only urine tests but also several blood tests to detect certain way.

THE'EPO has very important effects for athletes who practice sports in the period since this increases endurance and reduces fatigue. We can consider that improved performance of 10%

The moleculeerythropoietin (Its scientific name) increases the production of red blood cells 45% their normal rate until 65%. Red blood cells are the ones that will oxygenate the muscles for combustion and produce muscle energy, and also supply the other body organs.

Numerous athletes have tested positive for this molecule, also known molecule endurance.


armstrong epoOf course there are the high-profile cases many cyclists, with the recent revelations of the former seven-time Tour de France and world champion lance Armstrong, Telecasts, claim to have taken EPO, and another French rider at the start of this year, but also many Italian riders like Davide Rebelin 2008 the Olympics, or the German rider Stefan Schumacher the Tour de France and the Olympics 2008 2008.

lance Armstrong had also started taking this product at the start of his young career when he had to interrupt it, following testicular cancer, then follow a very heavy chemotherapy.


Cycling has always been controlled and logically the more controls, the more cheaters who get caught.

The UCI (International Cycling Union)The governing body of world cycling, has a real will to fight against it. And given the difficulty of easily detect EPO in runners, it has introduced a biological passport for all of them, but also the obligation for all runners to declare their place of residence or resort each of their movement in order to be checked regularly, even in the off season and unexpectedly. In case of absence to control, there may be suspension.

The same will to act is not the same for all sports federations. Alex Schwartz, Winner of 50 km walk of the Beijing Olympics, tested positive, was not prevented from competing by IAAF (the international body for athletics).

The list is long, and it is also possible to appoint an Ethiopian marathoner in french New York marathon or half-distance runners and many others ...

eporex3000-descriptionEPOREX 3000: See the official website of Meditech


Side effects of EPO

Note however, the use of EPO, especially of EPO synthesis, is not without risk, instead.

Indeed, the increase in these red blood cells may create a blood viscosity (this means that blood is thicker). In this case, the blood would not be good enough and we can then meet with risks like blood clots and thus possibly phlebitis or stroke, blood surge and therefore potentially cardiac arrest.

This might be the explanation of a real increase of heart death in young athletes high level observed in recent years, particularly in football and cycling.

This product is to be used only in cases of disability or intense physical activity, regular and extended, especially in serious and permanent medical supervision.


The synthetic EPO continues to be developed and research is still conducted on this product. Some new variants are even expected soon on the market. But there is already talk of other molecules and other products that could replace very short term EPO in its different uses.

  1. RODRIGUEZ  November 22, 2016



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