MOSCOW (AP) Some male athletes who have taken meldonium use it to improve sexual performance, the Latvian scientist who developed the recently banned drug said Monday.
The drug, which is typically recommended for heart disease patients, was banned for 2016, prompting at least 172 failed tests worldwide, including Maria Sharapova.
Ivars Kalvins, who created the drug, said not everyone takes the drug in order to enhance athletic performance.
''If we talk about male athletes, many of them take meldonium in order to improve their sexual performance rather than to enhance their sports performance,'' Kalvins said. ''We need to take this into account.''
Kalvins said he was disappointed by the World Anti-Doping Agency's decision to ban the drug and said he has written to WADA asking for meldonium to be taken off the list.
Last week, WADA said athletes could be cleared if only minute traces of the drug were found in their system.