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Olympic Russian skater Kamila Valieva tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned substance, during the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Now, officials have ruled that Kamila has been disqualified from the 2022 Olympics.
Here's what to know about trimetazidine, including official use, side effects, and more.
Things got a little confusing from there. The International Olympic Committee announced in a statement at the time that this was an “inconclusive situation" and that Kamila should still be allowed to compete. The organization said that it wouldn’t be “appropriate” to hold a medal ceremony for the figure skating team event (which Kamila’s Russian team won). They also said that if Kamila—who was favored to win gold—finished in the top three in the single’s event, there would be no flower ceremony and no medal ceremony.
Well, Kamila came in fourth and now officials have ruled—almost two years later—that she has been disqualified from the 2022 Olympics and that the Russian team needs to forfeit their gold medals, per ESPN. The American team came in second to the Russians in the competition and will now receive gold medals. (Kamila has also been banned from competitive figure skating until Dec. 25, 2025, which is about seven weeks before the next Winter Olympics.)
All of this raises a lot of questions about trimetazidine, the drug found in Kamila's system. Here’s everything to know, from its official use to side effects and more:
What is trimetazidine?
Trimetazidine is a medication used to treat angina. Angina, in case you’re not familiar with it, is chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart, and similar heart issues, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Trimetazidine is also a medication that has an effect on metabolism, according to the European Medicines Agency.
What are the side effects of taking trimetazidine?
Trimetazidine has several potential side effects that are scary, including the risk of developing Parkinson's disease and other motor disorders like tremors, muscle rigidity and walking disorders, and restless-legs syndrome.
However, the European Medicines Agency notes that people usually stop having these symptoms when they stop using the medication.
Why is trimetazidine banned in the Olympics?
The drug has been on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of prohibited substances since 2014, according to NBC Olympics. It’s categorized as a "hormone and metabolic modulator," and is illegal for athletes to use in and out of competition.
The medication has been banned because it's believed to improve a person's physical efficiency, especially in endurance sports, per NBC Olympics.
Beyond being banned from the Olympics, trimetazidine is also not approved for use in America. The drug is used in many European countries, however.
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