Anabolic steroid usage can result in both acute and lasting damage to those who take them. Teenagers are especially vulnerable since their bodies are still developing. An alarming number of individuals are experimenting with steroids in the hopes of enhancing their athletic abilities or improving their physical attractiveness. Ali Mohamadi, M.D., a medical officer with the FDA’s Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products, advises parents and teens about the dangers of steroid use.
Q: What are anabolic steroids, and how common are they among teenagers?
A: They’re medications that imitate the effects of testosterone cypionate for sale, the male sex hormone. This includes encouraging cell growth, particularly in muscle, as well as preserving or improving masculine physical traits. Various studies have been undertaken, with the conclusions of a Youth Risk and Behavior Surveillance System study estimating that 4.9 percent of males and 2.4 percent of females in the United States have used anabolic steroids at least once in their lifetimes. There are 375,000 young men and 175,000 young women in this group.
Q. What are the negative consequences of anabolic steroids use?
A: They’re known to cause a variety of serious side effects on a variety of organ systems, and the harm is often irreversible. Fertility issues, impotence, high blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as heart and liver diseases, are among them. Girls may experience menstrual irregularities and the development of masculine characteristics such as facial and body hair, while boys may experience testicular atrophy or the formation of breast tissue. Acne can affect either of them. Both boys and girls may experience mood swings and aggressive conduct, which can have a negative impact on not just people who use steroids, but also those around them.
Q: Do you need a prescription to get steroids?
A medical officer at the FDA, Ali Mohamadi, M.D., wants youngsters to understand how harmful it is to use steroids in the hopes of becoming better athletes or more attractive.
A: Yes, anabolic steroids are classed as Schedule III Controlled Substances by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, which means they must be purchased with a prescription and are subject to further controls. In the United States, for example, it is unlawful to possess them without a prescription, and in most cases, the prescription must be written and cannot be called in to a pharmacist. Some steroid labels advise that hormone levels be tested during use.
There are only a few FDA-approved applications. The majority of them are administered to replace sub-normal steroid levels. Muscle wasting, poor wound healing, and particularly specific pulmonary or bone marrow abnormalities are among the situations for which they are recommended.
Steroids can be prescribed off-label, that is, for illnesses that are not FDA-approved. However, children, particularly teenagers, are gaining access to steroids and using them for purposes other than those intended.
Q: So, how do teenagers gain access?
A: Some people acquire prescriptions from a certified practitioner for things like introducing puberty to “late bloomer” guys or stimulating development in teens who aren’t growing. Some people may be dealing with shady clinics or black market street sellers. Unfortunately, several sellers sell anabolic steroids without a prescription over the internet. Individuals should also be aware that some dietary supplements marketed for bodybuilding may contain illegal steroids or steroid-like compounds, and that information may not be included in the ingredient statement on the label.
Q: How is the FDA combating these unlawful sales?
A: The Food and Drug Administration is taking a number of steps to discourage these activities. Although action has been taken against illicit internet distributors who sell steroids without proper prescriptions, one persistent issue is that one site can be taken down and replaced with another.
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that many internet sellers misrepresent the composition of the goods they sell, they may be based outside of the United States, and the drugs aren’t prescribed by a medical practitioner who can assist people assess the risks and advantages. Individuals may have no idea what they’re taking, what the proper amount is, or what level of quality control and safety went into the production process in such circumstances. Because of these factors, the hazards of using anabolic steroids obtained without a prescription are even higher than they would otherwise be.
Q: What would you say if you knew an adolescent who was considering taking steroids?
A: I’d underline the risk of major health consequences in the short and long run. Steroids, rather than improving your appearance or performance, are more likely to have negative side effects that can last a lifetime. I’d also tell them that there are a variety of techniques to increase muscle growth and sports performance without resorting to excessive and harmful therapies, such as a reasonable exercise and diet routine.
Q: Do you have anything you’d like to say to parents?
A: While many parents do not believe their teenagers would consider using anabolic steroids, the truth is that steroid use in this age group is significantly more common than many people believe.
Parents should be on the lookout for indicators of abuse around this time of year, when children are back in school and getting back into their athletic routines. Mood fluctuations are one of the most common side effects, and steroid use can result in mania or despair. Acne is also a common early adverse effect, with breast development in boys and increased body hair in girls. A sudden increase in muscle mass should also raise concerns. It’s a situation that’s both genuine and unexpected.