• salbutamol;
  • salmeterol;
  • placebo;
  • athletes;
  • endurance performance;
  • skiing;
  • long-distance running

The present randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study aimed at investigating the possible improvement in endurance performance caused by inhaled salmeterol (long-acting β2-agonist) and salbutamol (short-acting) compared to placebo in 18 healthy well-trained athletes, aged 17–30 years old. Lung function (flow-volume loops) was measured before and after each inhaled study drug and after run to exhaustion. After inhalation of study drug and 10 min warm-up, anaerobic threshold was measured; thereafter maximum oxygen uptake, peak ventilation and running time until exhaustion during a brief graded exercise were measured. No significant differences were found for ventilation, oxygen uptake or heart rate at anaerobic threshold or at maximum performance between placebo and the β2-agonists. Lung function increased significantly after exercise, but without differences between the β2-agonists and placebo. Running time till exhaustion was significantly reduced after both the long-and the short-acting β2-agonist compared to the placebo.