The United States Anti-Doping Agency has announced that Amanda Geving, a national-level athlete in the sport of cycling, has accepted a 12-month sanction for an anti-doping rule violation.

The 28-year-old tested positive for Acetazolamide as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample she provided on January 18, 2017.

Acetazolamide is a Specified Substance in the class of Diuretics and Masking Agents and prohibited at all times under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policies, and the International Cycling Union (UCI) Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

The drug is medically prescribed for treating open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma, certain epileptic seizures, and reducing swelling caused by drugs, congestive heart failure, or other conditions. Acetazolamide belongs to group of drugs known as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors and works by decreasing the amount of hydrogen ions and bicarbonate in the body and inhibiting an enzyme known as carbonic anhydrase from working in a normal way.

Sold under the trade name Diamox among others, Acetazolamide is taken by mouth or injection into a vein and the drug is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. Available as a generic medication, Acetazolamide is particularly useful in situations when you cannot make a slow ascent. The “water pill” (diuretic) has the ability to reduce the amount of fluid that can build up in the eye. It is also used to reduce a buildup of body fluids caused by congestive heart failure or certain medications. The drug is usually used only for a short period as it can work less well over time.

The sanction for a violation resulting from the use of Acetazolamide, being a specified substance, can be reduced from the standard two-year period of ineligibility depending on an athlete’s degree of fault. The explanation of Geving that the prohibited substance detected in her sample was from a medication she took to prevent altitude sickness was accepted by USADA.

It was confirmed by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after a thorough review of the case that Amanda Geving used the medication for a short period while traveling to a high-altitude location and that she had experienced altitude sickness symptoms in the past. However, the athlete did not have or apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) that is required in order to authorize the use of a prohibited substance in sport. An athlete, under the WADA International Standard for TUEs (ISTUE) and the USADA TUE Policy, has the responsibility to demonstrate in advance of using a prohibited substance that the use is medically legitimate, will not create a performance enhancing advantage, and there are no appropriate permitted alternatives.

The 12-month period of ineligibility of Geving began on January 18, 2017, the date her positive sample was collected. In addition, she has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to January 18, 2017, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes. USA Cycling will impose this sanction.

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