Erythropoietin (EPO) is a hormone that is naturally produced by the kidneys and stimulates the production of red blood cells in the body. However, synthetic versions of EPO have been developed and are used as performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) by some athletes to increase endurance and reduce fatigue.
The use of EPO as a PED is illegal in most countries, including the United States and many European countries, and is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and most sports organizations. In the United States, EPO is classified as a Schedule III controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, which means that it has a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.
There are some legitimate medical uses for EPO, such as treating anemia related to chronic kidney disease, chemotherapy, or HIV/AIDS. In these cases, EPO may be prescribed by a doctor and administered under medical supervision.
It is important to note that the use of any substance, including EPO, for non-medical purposes is generally illegal and can have serious health consequences. It is also against the rules of most sports organizations and can result in sanctions, including suspension or disqualification from competition.