(CNN)Suspended Russian tennis champ Maria Sharapova admits she made a “huge mistake” by taking a banned performance-enhancing drug called meldonium. But what is it? For what medical reasons would an athlete take it? And why is it banned?
The drug, known as meldonium or mildronate, is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, but it is prescribed elsewhere to help protect heart tissue by regulating metabolism. It has also been used by neurological clinics to treat patients who have asthenia — an abnormal lack of energy.
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