Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size

'Designer' Steroid Probably Not Alone

Officials Say Other Dangerous and Undetectable Drugs May Be Out There
By
WebMD Health News

Oct. 24, 2003 -- The designer steroid at the center of a doping scandal that rocked the sports world this week is probably not the only illicit, performance-enhancing drug being used by elite and amateur athletes, experts say.

Numerous organizations, including the American College of Sports Medicine, have condemned the development and use of steroids that cannot be detected by standard doping tests. One such compound, the engineered steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), was recently identified after a whistle-blower sent a sample of it to anti-doping officials.

"If there is one great concern that THG has exposed, it is the potential that other non-detectable anabolic steroids may be in the pipeline," doping expert Gary I. Wadler, MD, FACSM, said in a news release. "The scientific and public health implications of this issue are quite disconcerting."

Be Careful What You Wish For

Speaking during a Friday afternoon news conference, Wadler called anabolic steroids "dangerous substances" that pose a particularly great risk to young athletes.

"People take them and they see that they are getting more muscular and defined," he said. "They think steroids are doing them a world of good, when, in fact, they may be entering into a Faustian pact that may come back to bite them years down the road."

Side effects associated with regular steroid use by males include reduced sperm production, shrinking of testicles, impotence, baldness, and breast enlargement. Their use has also been linked to an increased risk of liver cancer and cysts, increased cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Steroids are also associated with increased anxiety and aggression, and teens who take them risk stunting their growth.

There are no good figures on how many people take anabolic steroids to enhance sports performance, but in a 1999 National Institute on Drug Abuse survey, roughly 3% of 12th graders said they had used steroids at least once.

"We are very concerned that kids are taking these substances without fully understanding their long-term effects and the risk they are exposing themselves to," said American College of Sports Medicine president-elect William O. Roberts, MD, FACSM.

And it is not unheard of for high school athletes to share needles when using injectable steroids, said Andrew Pipe, MD, FACSM, chairman of the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sport.

"There are added public health dimensions to this issue which are not necessarily evident at first glance," he said.

Conspiracy

According to news reports, the newly identified steroid implicated in what officials are calling the biggest drug bust in sports history is distributed by a California nutrition company with ties to many well-known athletes. Many of them, including Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees and Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants, have been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury investigating the company.

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

Wet feet on shower floor tile
Slideshow
Flat Abs
Slideshow
 
Build a Better Butt Slideshow
Slideshow
woman using ice pack
Quiz
 

man exercising
Article
7 most effective exercises
Interactive
 
Man looking at watch before workout
Slideshow
Overweight man sitting on park bench
Video
 

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

pilates instructor
Slideshow
jogger running among flowering plants
Video
 
woman walking
Article
Taylor Lautner
Article