The question many of us continually ask, “What might be the next clandestine doping agent in sports?” might have a new answer: noopept. Popular in dietary supplements, noopept could be the next big banned substance in sport after meldonium.Noopept powder
As we watch the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with the Russian doping scandal looming in the rearview mirror the notion that noopept could be the next big banned substance in sport after meldonium is interesting on its own. However, when one considers that both substances appear to be sold as medication in Russia, and that many of the meldonium findings early this year involved Russian athletes, the intrigue gets deeper. Because noopept is prevalent in the supplement marketplace around the world, if it is the next clandestine doping agent the potential issue would expand well beyond Russia.
A comparison between the substance noopept and meldonium supports our theory. Meldonium, which is suggested to improve blood flow, is approved for use as anti-ischemia medication in Eastern Europe and Russia. It is usually used to treat heart disease. Although clearly popular with athletes, based on the hundreds of adverse analytical findings for the drug in early 2016, meldonium is not commonly found as a dietary supplement, at least not yet.
Meanwhile, noopept, is patented by JSC LEKKO Pharmaceuticals, a Russian pharmaceutical company, in both the U.S. and Russia. It is commonly sold as a dietary supplement in the nootropic category around the world, but appears to be sold as a medication in Russia and Eastern Europe. Noopept is being studied for its potential to alleviate Alzheimer’s symptoms and treat other brain disorders. It is not an approved drug in the U.S.
Noopept does not appear to be a controlled substance in the U.S. or other countries, or at least that is what some nootropic sites claim. That does not mean, however, it would be legal to sell as a supplement. It would likely qualify as an unapproved drug according to the U.S. FDA, or other international equivalents. As such, it may be OK to sell for research purposes, but not as a supplement marketed for human consumption. Given that noopept was patented in 1996, was not in the food supply prior to 1994, and is synthetic, it does not appear to qualify as a legal dietary supplement ingredient in the U.S., according to DSHEA (the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994).
Despite noopept being a dubious, if not illegal, supplement ingredient, it is commonly found packaged as a supplement and is available online at a wide range of distributors including Amazon.com and Jet.com. Based on its prevalence in dietary supplements and on message boards, it seems it has become quite popular. With discussion on ‘The Worlds Most Trusted Anabolic Website,’ as far back as 2007, it appears folks that track performance-enhancing compounds have known about it for a number of years.
In fact, noopept has become so popular that even Reddit, who thankfully realizes the concern, has a note on noopept in ‘New Rules in Regards to Illegal/Dangerous Compounds.’ The note describes that, “synthetic drugs (not DSHEA compliant) that have too little information on them to assess toxicity (Ex. Noopept or PRL-8-53)…, are in the grey area.”