Swiss researchers have warned that excessive usage of performance enhancing substance erythropoietin, popularly known as EPO, could lead to serious vascular problems in the brain.
EPO is widely used by athletes, especially among those who participate in endurance sports such as cycling or running, and is also used in treating stroke victims. However researchers from University of Zurich warned that excessive use of the substance could lead to increased blood pressure due to constriction of arteries and could also cause vascular problems in the brain.
The study, published in the FASEB Journal, is in direct contradiction with the current belief that EPO is safe to be used among stroke victims with lead researcher Dr Peter Rasmussen stating that a new EPO based agent should be developed that does not have a similar negative effect on the blood vessels if EPO is to be used in medical treatment.
"The new findings of this study urge to scrutinize present indications for EPO, and so help to better delineate positive versus adversary health effects of EPO for each patient. Future research should aim at developing an EPO-based agent for treatment that does not have a negative effect on the blood vessels of the brain", Dr Rasmussen said.