Beta-blockers inhibit the effect of the body's stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline. As a result, they have a relaxing effect on the heart and blood circulation and prevent anxiety and muscle trembling. Beta-blockers are prohibited only in certain sports.
Effect of beta-blockers
Beta-blockers are beta-adrenoceptor antagonists, i.e. they block the receptors that mediate the action of adrenaline and noradrenaline and thus inhibit the effect of the stress hormones. Beta-blockers have a relaxing effect, they lower the blood pressure and the resting heart rate. They prevent anxiety and muscle trembling.
Beta-blockers weaken the activating effect of the sympathetic nervous system on the target organs.
⬇ Resting heart rate
⬇ Blood pressure
⬇ Muscle trembling
Side effects and consequences of beta-blocker abuse
Beta-blockers have an inhibiting effect on the sympathetic nervous system (a part of the autonomic nervous system that primes the body for physical performance). The reduction in the heart rate may in an extreme case lead to heart failure.
Additional adverse effects include asthma attacks, erectile dysfunction, fatigue and depression.
Because beta-blockers lower the heart rate and have a strongly relaxing effect, and also because they prevent muscle trembling, abuse for doping purposes occurs in sports that require particular accuracy and concentration, e.g. in shooting, archery, darts, golf and snooker.
In addition, beta-blockers reduce anxiety. For this reason, they are also prohibited in motor sports, in ski jumping and in freestyle skiing and snowboarding (aerials, halfpipe, big air).