Mononucleosis and EPO – Is There a Connection?

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With all this fuss about the use of EPO in cycling in recent years and how laboratorial inject able EPO was practically undetectable until very recently (2003), plus how the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) and other Anti-Doping labs worldwide are suspicious that athletes are freely using performance enhancing drugs namely EPO; some officials are starting to openly vent their frustrations with the shortcomings (underfunding) of the aforementioned agencies.

With recent reports of several athletes contracting mononucleosis, I became curious and I decided to make a search on the internet to see if there was a possibility of a connection between EPO and mononucleosis and I found this startling report (excerpt below).

Author: Paul Schick, MD, Emeritus Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Medical College; Research Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine:

“Pure Red Cell Aplasia

  • Respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, primary atypical pneumonia, infectious mononucleosis, mumps, and viral hepatitis may trigger pure red cell aplasia.
  • Importantly, note that EPO-related appears to be a rare complication when one considers that approximately 3 million patients are treated with EPO worldwide. Nevertheless, maintain awareness of the possibility of this complication. In 2002, Casadevall et al recommended that patients receiving EPO should be tested for neutralizing anti-EPO antibodies as soon as possible after the onset of an unexplained anemia.
  • Darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp) has recently been introduced and has a different carbohydrate structure than endogenous EPO. Patients receiving this agent should be monitored closely.
  • Obviously, the administration of EPO for athletic performance should be avoided. ” http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic1967.htm

“- Medical side effects

EPO commonly “thickens” blood which causes additional circulatory strain as well as damming (clotting) in smaller blood vessels. EPO use is dangerous as it stresses elements in the circulation and quite often is sufficient to precipitate systemic failures that otherwise would function normally under natural levels of stress.”

http://coachsci.sdsu.edu/csa/vol56/fourdrug.htm

“What are the side-effects of EPO misuse?

· While proper use of EPO has an enormous therapeutic benefit in the treatment of anaemia related to cancer or kidney disease, its misuse can lead to serious health risks for athletes who use this substance simply to gain a competitive edge. It is well known that EPO, by thickening the blood, leads to an increased risk of several deadly diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and cerebral or pulmonary embolism. The misuse of recombinant human EPO may also lead to autoimmune diseases with serious health consequences.”

http://www.wada-ama.org/en/dynamic.ch2?pageCategory.id=626

Does this mean, if you have mononucleosis that you have used EPO? No, it could be viral, but if you are an athlete, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) and other Anti-Doping labs worldwide will have their red flags waving for months!

With this information, I became concerned, because if there are any tennis players out there, champions, champions to be or not champions, before they even think about using EPO, they should be aware of the consequences.

Why risk your life for a medal, a cup or a few dollars more? Players and athletes, just say NO and stay away from EPO! Your health and your life is more important to all of us then if you win.

Yours truly

Sergio Cruz

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