Anabolic steroids easily obtained without medical prescription
87% of the top 10 direct-to-consumer websites sold commonly used forms of anabolic steroids, injectable testosterone, and hormone therapies. In addition, 75% of websites sold at least 1 post-cycle recovery agent (e.g., gonadotropins, serum estrogen receptor modulators, and aromatase inhibitors), and 62% sold 1 or more erectile dysfunction medications. Most steroid users "stack" multiple agents at high dosages, then "cycle" with recovery agents to minimize toxicity, according to other research cited in the study.
No website required a prescription for purchase of any substance, and 75% accepted common forms of payment including credit card. Online vendors provided direct shipping to home addresses and shunted all legal responsibility to the consumer through disclaimers.
The investigators noticed that all of the sites were supplied by international pharmacies outside the jurisdiction of the FDA. Therefore, product quality was unverified and suspicious of contamination.
Three-quarters of the sites also gave potentially dangerous information, including specific cycle and stacking recommendations. Furthermore, 62% provided post-cycle recovery information. Only 1 site offered information on non-steroid alternatives.
Given the negative effects of these substances on normal endocrine and reproductive functionresulting in commonly encountered clinical conditions such as erectile dysfunction and infertility, clinicians must be aware of the increasingly common underlying etiology of prior or current anabolic steroid usage. Just 50% of patients admit anabolic steroid use to clinicians.
Other data have demonstrated that the development of designer anabolic steroids is on the rise to elude drug testing, but unlike traditional anabolic steroids that were initially developed for medical use, the physiologic effects of designer steroids are largely unknown, potentially resulting in a host of unknown side effects.
- Abram McBride J, Carson III CC, and Coward M. The Availability and Acquisition of Illicit Anabolic Androgenic Steroids and Testosterone Preparations on the Internet. Am J Mens Health. doi:10.1177/1557988316648704.
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