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Home » Clean Boxing: Diuretics – a dangerous masking agent

Clean Boxing: Diuretics – a dangerous masking agent

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WBC Clean Boxing Program report on diuretics being a dangerous masking agent.

How many times have we heard about the use of diuretics in sports?

This is, unfortunately, more common practice than we imagine.

The use of this type of drugs is certainly not harmless. On the contrary, it’s use can seriously endanger health and likewise have fatal consequences.

Diuretics are drugs whose effect on the body increase the excretion of urine. This is done by increasing the renal elimination of sodium chloride.

The objective is to increase the renal loss of salt and water. Producing an increase in the volume of urine, with the loss of weight.

Consequently, weight reduction also occurs with the intake of diuretics. It is proportional and dependent on the depletion of sodium chloride induced by them.

Diuretics are also known as “masking agents”. This is because they are meant to hide the presence of specific illegal drugs during doping tests via urine.

Concerning boxing, diuretics are used to bring about an artificial reduction of weight. Thus achieve fighting in lower divisions and also preventing the detection of other prohibited substances.

Diuretics are fifth placed in the frequency of the most used drug class. They have a 6.7% of usage on all the adverse analytical results worldwide.

There are several types of diuretics, grouped in the following families:

Potent diuretics (Furosemide type).
Thiazides (Hydrochlorothiazide type).
Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (Acetazolamide type).
Mercurials (Mersalil type).
Aldosterone inhibitors (Spironolactone type).

It is necessary to understand that the improper use of this type of drugs not only dehydrates the body. But also causes a variety of side effects that put the lives of those who consume them at real risk.

The risks include:

Arterial hypertension

Congestive heart failure


Ascites of liver cirrhosis

Alteration of blood cells, with decrease in white blood cells and platelets

Gastrointestinal disorders, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea

Increase in uric acid, which can cause acute gout

Increase in blood lipoproteins, with an incidence in arteriosclerosis risk

Allergic reactions

Decreased hearing

Renal alterations

Muscle weakness and cramps

Heart rhythm disorders

Some diuretics make the skin more sensitive to the sun. Which may generate burns, irritations (a recent study by the Danish Cancer Society states that some of these drugs may increase the risk of skin cancer).

From certain limits of loss of water, physical performance diminishes in any person.

A loss of 3 to 4% of the weight of a subject, caused by loss of water and salts. This causes a decrease in physical performance of 10 to 15%.

In cases of large losses of water and salt, a picture of extracellular dehydration can occur, characterized by hypotension. Tachycardia, poor peripheral blood flow and decreased renal function, which in advanced stages can lead to a coma and even death.


In the WBC we know that it is imperative to alert all boxers of the grave risks involved in the use of banned substances. Since unfortunately, many of them are unaware of the terrible danger they run due to the lack of information.

This leads them to trust unscrupulous people who exhort them even more. While also urging them to consume.

The Clean Boxing Program is a priority for the World Boxing Council, hence the measures.

Furthermore, the WBC’s number one priority is to ensure the safety of our boxers, through guidance and information. Knowledge is power and certainly the best way to tackle the problem.