Endocrine Society issues scientific statement on health consequences of performance-enhancing drugs

Published on December 18, 2013 at 12:58 AM · No Comments

Much of the national effort has focused on measures to detect, punish and shame elite athletes in the hope that these measures would discourage PED use by the rank-and-file PED user, who is not an athlete. The empiric experience of the past 20 years suggests that this approach has had very limited success. The statement emphasizes that PED use by athletes and non-athlete weightlifters are two distinct cultural phenomena; these two categories of PED users differ in their motivation to use PEDs and in their sociodemographic profile. The Position Statement makes the point that the PED use by non-athlete weightlifters is a major public health problem associated with potentially serious adverse health consequences.

The statement highlights several obstacles to better appreciating the adverse effects of PEDs. These include:

  • Randomized trials of PED use, in the does that athletes and non-athlete weightlifters typically use them, will never be possible because of ethical concerns. Most evidence of medical consequences of PED use come from animal models, case-control studies, case reports, and retrospective surveys;
  • Since widespread illicit PED use did not appear in the general population until the 1980s and 1990s, the great majority of PED users are still under the age of 50. As such, this population has not yet reached the age of risk for a range of diseases, such as cardiovascular problems, that often arise later in life;
  • PED use is usually covert. People are less apt to disclose PED use than other forms of drug use. In one study, 56 percent of PED users reported that they never disclosed their use to any physician.

Source: The Endocrine Society

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