On February 9, 2024, the International Testing Agency (ITA) announced the presence of ostarine in a urine sample from fencer Ysaora Thibus. The compound is a “selective androgen receptor modulator” (or SARMs in its English acronym). When it binds to the androgen receptors of the cells of the male or female body, the effect of testosterone produced naturally by the human body is increased, and the muscles gain mass. Ostarine is classified as category S1.2 (as “other anabolic agents”) by the World Anti-Doping Agency. What is the difference with the more commonly used category S1.1 products (anabolic androgenic steroids or AAS)?
AAS has more side effects. They can cause the appearance of some secondary male sexual characteristics in women, such as a deeper voice and increased body hair. These “new molecules, SARMs, potentiate the androgens that women produce naturally and in small quantities” reports Dr. Jean-Christophe Miniot, specialist in sports medicine at the Drouot clinic in Paris. Ostarine makes female muscle cells more receptive to internal testosterone production, which ensures muscle mass gain without side effects. “These molecules are also less easily detected during tests,” the doctor further adds.
Originally, ostarine (or Enobosarm) was developed in 2004 by Merck laboratories “to increase muscle mass and bone density in the elderly or in patients suffering from muscle wasting, whatever the origin of the disease. this cast iron,” recalls a 2023 study. Clinical tests have not been conclusive in most of the indications imagined by scientists, but the molecule is still the subject of clinical trials, particularly in the treatment of breast cancer. . The molecule has never been authorized on the market and cannot therefore be prescribed outside a well-defined experimental framework.
The announcement of traces of doping in a sample dated January 14, 2023 had “a stupefying effect” for fencer Ysaora Thibus who was suspended on February 8 by the international fencing federation. The 32-year-old young athlete won the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. She was crowned world champion in 2022 then obtained bronze at the European Championships the same year. The French fencing federation testifies to exchanges with the athlete: “the fencer expresses her total incomprehension, her immense surprise and her dismay, she denies any intentional act of doping. It is now up to it to defend itself according to the measures it deems useful to take. »