Meldonium Creator Talks About the Drug

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( — March 9, 2016) — Mildronate, (also known as Meldonium, THP, Met-88, Mildronats) is the name of a blacklisted drug that could possibly cost former tennis champion Maria Sharapova not only her reputation but also her career as a professional tennis player.

“Mildronate can be bought in any Russian pharmacy, and it is available to anyone,” Professor Ivars Kalvins, head of the laboratory that produced the drug Mildronate decades ago, told distinguished Russian blog

“The drug package contains 40 capsules and costs less than four US dollars,” professor Kalvins added. Mildronate was developed in Riga, the capital of Latvia in 1975.

“I was simply interested in how the human body deteriorates during stress,” Kalvins said. “I found the substance whose biosynthesis resources are being depleted – the gamma-butyrobetaine. One carbon is replaced by one nitrogen so that it does not decompose and remains useful as a carrier signal. That’s all. This is Meldonium [Mildronate].”

Mildronate was not approved by the US FDA and is illegal to use in the U.S. Until recently, it was legal in other countries, but as of January 1, 2016, it  has been placed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of substances banned from use by athletes.

The WADA consider Mildronate to be a metabolic performance enhancer and it has been blacklisted after a December 15th, 2015, study that argued Meldonium ‘’demonstrates an increase in endurance performance of athletes, improved rehabilitation after exercise, protection against stress, and enhanced activations of central nervous system (CNS) function.”

The drug has been used to tackle various health issues. On March 7, 2016, Maria Sharapova surprised the world by announcing at a press conference that she had failed a drug test in Australia due to the detection of Mildronate. She said she wasn’t aware that the drug had been blacklisted and has been using it for years because of health issues.

During extreme physical effort and stress, the organism can’t process oxygen from air as it can under normal conditions. According to Professor Kalvinsh, the drug boosts blood flow, helping the body process oxygen and there is nothing in that process that could be considered a violation of anti-doping regulations. It is advisable that athletes preserve their health during extreme body-stress situations.

“You risk your health during a match, however, during training, you need to preserve your body from unnecessary risk,” Kalvins concluded.