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Use of NSAIDs in triathletes: prevalence, level of awareness and reasons for use
  1. T Gorski1,
  2. E Lusa Cadore1,
  3. S Santana Pinto1,
  4. E Marczwski da Silva1,
  5. C Silva Correa1,
  6. F Gabe Beltrami2,
  7. L F Martins Kruel1
  1. 1Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
  2. 2Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town, Sports Science Institute of South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Tatiane Gorski, Exercise Research Laboratory, Physical Education School, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, 750 Felizardo Furtado Street, Jardim Botânico, CEP 90690–200, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil; tatigorski{at}


Objective To determine the level of awareness regarding nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and the prevalence and reasons for their consumption among athletes competing at the 2008 Brazil Ironman Triathlon (3.8 km swim, 180 km cycle and 42.2 km run).

Design Survey study.

Setting 2008 Brazil Ironman Triathlon, Florianópolis, Brazil, May 2008.

Participants 327 Of the 1250 athletes competing at the 2008 Brazil Ironman Triathlon were enrolled in the study.

Main Outcome Measures Athletes answered a questionnaire about NSAID effects, side effects and consumption at the bike checkout or awards lunch.

Results 196 (59.9%) Athletes reported using NSAIDs in the previous 3 months; of these, 25.5% (n=50), 17.9% (n=35) and 47.4% (n=93) consumed NSAIDs the day before, immediately before and during the race, respectively. Among NSAID users, 48.5% (n=95) consumed them without medical prescription. The main reason given for NSAID consumption in the previous 3 months was the treatment of injuries, while the main reason given for consuming NSAIDs during the race was pain prevention. Despite anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, most athletes were unaware of the effects of NSAIDs, and the only adverse effects known by most athletes were the gastrointestinal complications.

Conclusions This study found a high prevalence of NSAID consumption, limited awareness of the effects and side effects of them and a high rate of nonprescribed use. It is suggested that long-distance triathlon events include in their programmes educational devices such as talks or folders about NSAID use, effects and side effects.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul Ethics Committee (number 2007866).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.