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Use of permitted drugs in Italian professional soccer players
  1. Emanuela Taioli
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr E Taioli
 University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, UPMC Cancer Pavilion, 5150 Centre Avenue, Fourth Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15232, USA; taiolien{at}


Objectives: To assess the frequency and quantity of usage of permitted drugs by Italian professional soccer players.

Methods: A cohort of 1041 professional soccer players from the two Italian major leagues was assembled during the season 2003–4; 743 of the 785 (94.6%) subjects available on the day of the interview answered an epidemiological questionnaire, which included questions on the type and frequency of use of several permitted drugs.

Results: 92.6% of players reported having used oral anti-inflammatory products in the previous year, and most of them were current users (86.1%). 36% of the players, mostly current users, reported the use of analgesics. 82.8% of the players reported current use of supplements, and 28% reported using vitamins.

Conclusions: The regular use of several permitted drugs is very high among professional soccer players. The description of players’ behaviour is the first step towards regular monitoring of the players’ need for, and use of, vitamins, supplements and other permitted drugs.

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  • Published Online First 22 February 2007

  • Funding: This study was supported by a grant from the Italian Ministry of Health to ET (grant number RF 03/232).

  • Competing interests: None.

  • The principal investigator had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.