The Latvian company that manufactures the drug Maria Sharapova on Monday admitted to using says the normal course of treatment for meldonium is four to six weeks—not the 10 years the Russian tennis star says she used the substance. Sharapova said she had taken meldonium, a heart medicine that improves blood flow and is little-known in the US, for a decade following various health problems, including regular sicknesses, early signs of diabetes, and "irregular" results from echocardiography exams. She didn't specify whether she had used it constantly since she was first given it in 2006.
Meldonium was banned because it aids oxygen uptake and endurance, and several athletes in various international sports have already been caught using it since it was banned on Jan. 1. Latvian company Grindeks, which manufactures meldonium, had this to say to the AP: "Depending on the patient's health condition, treatment course of meldonium preparations may vary from four to six weeks. Treatment course can be repeated twice or thrice a year. Only physicians can follow and evaluate patient's health condition and state whether the patient should use meldonium for a longer period of time." Meldonium is not approved by the US FDA. (Sharapova's luxe sponsors are starting to back away.)