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The Urine Marker Test: An Alternative Approach to Supervised Urine Collection for Doping Control

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Urine sample collection for doping control tests is a key component of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s fight against doping in sport. However, a substantial number of athletes experience difficulty when having to urinate under supervision. Furthermore, it cannot always be ensured that athletes are actually delivering their own urine. A method that can be used to alleviate the negative impact of a supervised urination procedure and which can also identify urine as coming from a specific athlete is the urine marker test. Monodisperse low molecular weight polyethylene glycols (PEGs) are given orally prior to urination. Urine samples can be traced to the donor by analysis of the PEGs previously given.


The objective of this study was to investigate the use of the urine marker during urine doping control testing.


Two studies investigated athletes’ acceptance of this new method via two questionnaires (n = 253). Furthermore, a third study (n = 91) investigated whether ingestion of the marker can identify the urine as coming from a specific person and whether the marker interferes with the detection of prohibited substances.

Results and conclusions

The results indicate that this new method finds wide acceptance both from athletes who have only heard about the procedure and those who have actually tested the new method. Furthermore, the marker, which can identify urine as coming from a specific person, does not interfere with the detection of prohibited substances.

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This study was financially supported by Partnership for Clean Competition. We would like to thank Nadine Debois and Alain Frey (both INSEP) for their help in the data collection for study 1.

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Correspondence to Anne-Marie Elbe.

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Conflict of interest

Ruprecht Keller, Anne-Marie Elbe, and Anthony W. Butch received a grant from Partnership for Clean Competition entitled “A new labelling procedure which allows to identify urine as coming from a particular person.”

Stine Nylansted Jensen, Peter Elsborg, Monika Wetzke, Getachew A. Woldemariam, and Bernd Huppertz declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Elbe, AM., Jensen, S.N., Elsborg, P. et al. The Urine Marker Test: An Alternative Approach to Supervised Urine Collection for Doping Control. Sports Med 46, 15–22 (2016).

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