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Curr Sports Med Rep. 2011 Jul;10(4):186-90. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e318223cd8a.

Actovegin--Cutting-edge sports medicine or "voodoo" remedy?

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Institute of Medical Engineering and Medical Physics, Cardiff University, Wales, UK.


Actovegin is a deproteinized serum extract of bovine origin, and in recent years it has been used widely in treating sport injuries with many anecdotal reports of success. However, the use of Actovegin in sport medicine has caused a substantial amount of controversy, especially concerning its supposed oxygen-enhancing capacity and an anecdotal belief that its use can increase an athlete's performance. In 2009, a sports physician was arrested with this "performance-enhancing drug," while an editorial in a sports medicine journal strongly questioned the evidence base for using this drug for acute muscle injury. There is also a report that suggested that Actovegin might have induced anaphylactic shock in a cyclist. In this review, we have systematically examined the current evidence on Actovegin. Its mechanism of action, clinical evidence, legal status with sports governing bodies, and its potential role in sport injuries will be discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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