Health Watch — Dangerous Drugs: Steroid Abuse

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about drugs and medications that can be dangerous. Previously, we talked about some risks associated with illegal drugs. There are also drugs that have legal uses but that are often abused. Anabolic steroids fit into this category. They may be prescribed by doctors to treat chronic illnesses that cause muscle wasting, but because these drugs build muscle, they’re often abused by people who want to enhance their bodies or improve athletic performance.

Dr. Richard Auchus, an endocrinologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says steroid abuse increases the risk for heart attacks, stunted growth and behavioral problems. Women and girls who abuse steroids can develop masculine characteristics such as baldness, the growth of facial hair and a deeper voice, and these changes are usually permanent.



May 2007

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