Androgen abuse in the community

Department of Dermatology, Environmental Medicine and Health Theory, Division of Human Sciences, University of Osnabrück, Germany.
Current opinion in endocrinology, diabetes, and obesity (Impact Factor: 3.37). 05/2009; 16(3):218-23. DOI: 10.1097/MED.0b013e32832afdfe
Source: PubMed


To provide information of the current prevalence of illicit use of androgens by individuals of the community.
Prevalence of abuse of androgens in individuals of the general population has reached alarming dimensions. Use of androgens is no longer limited to competitive sports, but has spread to leisure and fitness sports, bodybuilding, and nonathletes motivated to increase muscular mass and physical attractiveness. Alarming studies from Germany demonstrated that members of the healthcare systems provide illegal androgens to 48.1% of abusers visiting fitness centers. The new trend to combine androgens with growth hormone, insulin, and insulinotropic milk protein-fortified drinks may potentiate health risks of androgen abuse.
The use of androgens has changed from being a problem restricted to sports to one of public health concern. The potential health hazards of androgen abuse are underestimated in the medical community, which unfortunately contributes to illegal distribution of androgens. Both the adverse effects of current androgen abuse especially in young men as well as the chronic toxicity from past long-term abuse of now middle-aged men has to be considered as a growing public health problem. In the future, an increasing prevalence of androgen misuse in combination with other growth-promoting hormones and insulinotropic milk protein products has to be expected, which may have further promoting effects on the prevalence of chronic western diseases.

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