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News: December 7, 2009

Surprised? Black market steroids usually mislabeled

December 7, 2009

The risks of anabolic steroids - used by some athletes to build muscle mass - are by now well-documented. But it turns out, perhaps not surprisingly, that steroids bought illegally through "underground labs" and over the internet generally aren't what their labels say they are, researchers reported yesterday at the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry's annual meeting in Los Angeles.
Steroid users often complain that the drugs they had bought - often at significant expense - don't work, or have serious side effects. "Actual data regarding the composition of steroids obtained on the black market are scarce," however, presenter Dr. D. Zach Smith, of Boston Medical Center, told Reuters Health by email.
"Many labs in the US refuse to analyze suspected steroids," he continued, "so users are not able to determine with any degree of certainty if the steroids they are using are labeled or dosed correctly."
Smith and his colleagues looked at 217 studies that had analyzed the chemical makeup of illegally obtained anabolic steroids.
The researchers found that almost a third - 30 percent -- of samples others had analyzed did not contain any of the drugs listed on their labels.
Even when the samples did include an anabolic steroid, nearly half - 44 percent -- contained the wrong dosages, either much lower or much higher. One sample had less than one percent of the dosage its label claimed, while another had more than five times as much.
Unexpectedly high doses could lead to more severe cases of all the potential harms associated with steroids, Smith said: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, shrinkage of the testicles, enlarged male breasts, and acne.
There is also "more evidence accumulating that the likelihood of having a bad reaction with severe psychiatric symptoms including mania, hostility, or aggression, is linked to higher dosages," he said.
One in five of the samples was contaminated with heavy metals such as tin, lead, and arsenic. Such metals can have toxic effects on the nervous and digestive systems, as well as the muscles.
Would steroid users "be willing to risk serious legal consequences and prosecution for a steroid either so underdosed as to be worthless, or contaminated with heavy metals?" asked Smith. "These questions deserve to be asked, and as clinicians we owe our patients an informed and fully accurate discussion."


Archive issues: (50)

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November 29, 2009 | Rituximab May Offer Hope To Severe Graves' Eye Disease Patients

There may be hope for patients with severe Graves' eye disease in the form of treatment with the drug rituximab.  This news comes from U-M Kellogg Eye Center who's oculoplastics specialist Raymond S. Douglas, M.D., Ph.D. reports ...

November 28, 2009 | New guidelines urged for H1N1 protection among healthcare employees

Infectious disease experts are calling for a moratorium on OSHA guidelines for health care employees that require the use of fit-tested N95 respirators for personal protection from H1N1 flu. Three leading infectious disease organizations, have written a letter to President Obama citing lack of scientific evidence that N95 respirators offer additional protection from the virus, compared to surgical masks. The scientific groups urge new guidelines ...

November 27, 2009 | Air Pollution Raises Infants' Risk of Bronchiolitis

Infants who are exposed to higher levels of air pollution, including vehicle and industrial emissions and wood smoke, are at increased risk for bronchiolitis. The study is unique because it evaluated ...

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News

December 20, 2009

Wii, Xbox 360 and Other Video Games Offer Some Benefits

Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation, and other video games are hot on holiday gift lists, but some parents wonder whether these games offer any benefits or are detrimental to kids. The results of a new study may put some minds at ease, while others may not.  According to the findings reported in the latest issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, regular gamers ...

December 18, 2009

Should You Be Shoveling Snow?

Yes, the weather outside is frightful, and soon you will have to think about shoveling snow. But should you be the one doing the work? Who should and should not shovel snow, and how can you do it safely?  Every winter, approximately 1,200 Americans die from a heart attack or ...

December 17, 2009

Athletes who take NSAID's to prevent pain may be doing more harm than good

According to Stuart Warden, a researcher who studies musculoskeletal health and sports medicine, athletes who ritualistically take NSAID's to prevent post event and workout soreness and inflammation may be depriving the body of healing, in addition to ...

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