Chevy Chase, MD A new Scientific Statement issued today by The Endocrine Society represents a comprehensive evaluation of available information on the prevalence and medical consequences of the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). The statement highlights the clinical pharmacology, adverse effects and detection of many substances often classified as PEDs, identifies gaps in knowledge and aims to focus the attention of the medical community and policymakers on PED use as an important public health problem.
PEDs are synonymous with the names of certain elite athletes who have been accused of using illegal substances to gain a competitive edge, but in reality professional athletes make up only a small fraction of the nation's 3 million PED users. Most users are non-athlete weightlifters who are more focused on personal appearance, in that they want to look leaner and more muscular. But according to the Society's new statement, PED use can take a heavy and dangerous toll on personal health.
"There is a widespread misperception that PED use is safe or that adverse effects are manageable," said Shalender Bhasin, MD, Director, Research Program in Men's Health: Aging and Metabolism, at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, and chair of the task force that developed the statement. "The truth is, PED use has been linked to increased risk of death and a wide variety of cardiovascular, psychiatric, metabolic, renal and musculoskeletal disorders."
There are several categories of PEDs, but the most frequently used substances are lean mass builders which are generally anabolic drugs that increase muscle mass and/ or reduce fat mass. By far the most prevalent illicit PEDs are anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), followed by human growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), insulin, stimulants, erythropoietin, diuretics and even thyroid hormone.
PED users at greatest risk for adverse effects are those who develop a dependence on t
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The Endocrine Society