UIAA MedCom article published

The UIAA Medical Commission’s article ‘Drug Use and Misuse in the Mountains: A UIAA MedCom Consensus Guide for Medical Professionals’ has been published by High Altitude Medicine & Biology.

High Altitude Medicine & Biology is the first peer-reviewed journal focused exclusively on the latest advances in high altitude life sciences, and is the primary source of information for clinicians, physiologists, and researchers studying the effects of reduced atmospheric pressure and oxygen deprivation.

The aim of the UIAA article is to inform mountaineers about drugs commonly used in mountains. For many years, drugs have been used to enhance performance in mountaineering. It is the UIAA Medcom’s duty to protect mountaineers from possible harm caused by uninformed drug use. The UIAA Medcom assessed relevant articles in scientific literature and peer-reviewed studies, trials, observational studies, and case series to provide information for physicians on drugs commonly used in the mountain environment. Recommendations were graded according to criteria set by the American College of Chest Physicians. Results: Prophylactic, therapeutic, and recreational uses of drugs relevant to mountaineering are presented with an assessment of their risks and benefits. Conclusions: If using drugs not regulated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), individuals have to determine their own personal standards for enjoyment, challenge, acceptable risk, and ethics. No system of drug testing could ever, or should ever, be policed for recreational climbers. Sponsored climbers or those who climb for status need to carefully consider both the medical and ethical implications if using drugs to aid performance. In some countries (e.g., Switzerland and Germany), administrative systems for mountaineering or medication control dictate a specific stance, but for most recreational mountaineers, any rules would be unenforceable and have to be a personal decision, but should take into account the current best evidence for risk, benefit, and sporting ethics.

The document was produced by Enrico Donegani, Peter Paal, Thomas Küpper, Urs Hefti, Buddha Basnyat, Anna Carceller, Pierre Bouzat, Rianne van der Spek, and former UIAA MedCom President David Hillebrandt

Further Details here.

The recommendation advice sheet ‘Drug use and misuse in mountaineering. Intended for mountaineers and medical lay persons’ can be downloaded here.