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Table of Contents
Vol. 70, No. 3, 2001
Issue release date: May–June 2001
Psychother Psychosom 2001;70:137–140
(DOI:10.1159/000056238)

Over-the-Counter Drug Use in Gymnasiums: An Underrecognized Substance Abuse Problem?

Kanayama G. · Gruber A.J. · Pope Jr. H.G. · Borowiecki J.J. · Hudson J.I.
Biological Psychiatry Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass., and Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., USA

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Abstract

Objective: Many individuals, attempting to gain muscle or lose fat, use ‘dietary supplements’. Though widely available over the counter or by mail order in America and Europe, some of these ‘supplements’ are actually potent drugs such as androstenedione and ephedrine. We sought to estimate the prevalence of these forms of drug use in American gymnasiums. Methods: We distributed anonymous questionnaires to 511 clients entering five gymnasiums, asking about use of both supplements and anabolic steroids. Results: Among men, 18% reported use of androstenedione and/or other adrenal hormones, 25% reported ephedrine use, and 5% reported anabolic steroid use within the last 3 years; among women these rates were 3, 13 and 0%. Extrapolating from these figures to the United States as a whole, we estimated that possibly 1.5 million American gymnasium clients have used adrenal hormones and 2.8 million have used ephedrine within the last 3 years. Conclusions: Millions of men and women are currently using potent drugs, widely sold over the counter as ‘supplements’, despite their known adverse effects, unknown long-term risks, and possible potential for causing abuse or dependence.



Copyright / Drug Dosage

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

References

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    External Resources

  9. Vahedi K, Domigo V, Amarenco P, Bousser M-G: Ischaemic stroke in a sportsman who consumed MaHuang extract and creatine monohydrate for bodybuilding. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2000;68:112–113.

    External Resources

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  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Adverse events associated with ephedrine-containing products – Texas, December 1993 – September 1995. Mor Mortal Wkly Rep 1996;45:689–693.
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  28. Pope HG Jr, Olivardia R, Gruber A, Borowiecki J: Evolving ideals of male body image as seen through action toys. Int J Eat Disord 1999;26:65–72.


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