Few facts about mildronate.
- A Latvian pharmaceutical company created meldonium (mildronate)
- Meldonium is a fatty acid oxidation inhibitor
- Use of meldonium in sports is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
- As of April 2016, at least nine athletes have been provisionally suspended after testing positive for meldonium
- Meldonium is predominantly used to treat heart conditions but has a range of pharmaceutical uses
- Meldonium is not licensed for use in the US
- The drug was used extensively by Soviet troops in Afghanistan
One of mildronate meldonium’s early uses was in animals; the drug was specifically used to enhance the sexual performance and sperm motility of boars. Its license was later expanded for use in humans.2
Meldonium is produced by the Latvian pharmaceutical company Grendiks. With sales of the drug reaching 56 million euros in 2013, it is one of Latvia’s biggest medical exports.
Prior to the use of meldonium for cardiac health issues, large quantities of the drug were shipped to Soviet troops in Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989.
According to the drug’s designer, Ivar Kalvins – chair of the scientific board of the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis – it was created to increase the body’s oxygen-carrying capacity.
Because of Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain and the need to carry large backpacks, Soviet soldiers would take meldonium to increase their endurance in the oxygen-reduced air.