Drug use and abuse and the risk of adverse events in soccer players: results from a survey in Italian second league players

F.w. Rossi, F. Napolitano, V. Pucino, G. Capua, D. Bianchedi, F. Braconaro, A. De Paulis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: Drug use in athletes has been frequently investigated in the last three decades, especially regarding its misuse for doping. However, little is known about the use of permitted drugs for medical purposes and less studies have investigated the relationship between adverse drugs reactions (ADRs) and sports.

Methods: An observational cross-sectional investigation analyzing a group of second league soccer players (the second-highest division in Italy) was performed. Anamnestic and physical examinations as well as a validated questionnaire (AQUA©) were performed in a group of 378 Italian second league soccer players.

Results: Most players (91.8%) reported the use of NSAIDs in the previous year, and one third of them were regular users. Analgesics were used in 64% of the players, while 52.1% had taken antibiotics in the previous year. 29.20% of players used intraarticular treatments in the previous year. In 7,4% of players, an ADRs was reported: 3,47% reacted to NSAIDs, 2,6% to antibiotics, 1,05% to analgesics and 1 of them to supplements. For intra-articular injections, only 2 players experienced ADRs. One quarter of players experienced reactions as urticaria-angioedema syndrome or more severe conditions as bronchospasm or anaphylaxis.

Conclusions: This study shows that drug misuse/abuse in soccer is a real matter of debate, especially with regards to NSAIDs, exposing athletes to predictable and/or unpredictable risks for their health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-42
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Annals of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2021


  • AQUA
  • Adverse events
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Drug abuse
  • NSAIDs
  • Soccer players
  • Sport
  • Urticaria-angioedema

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


Dive into the research topics of 'Drug use and abuse and the risk of adverse events in soccer players: results from a survey in Italian second league players'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this