The medical aspect of using anabolic androgenic steroids in males attending gyms of Saint-Petersburg

  • Authors: Lykhonosov M.P1, Babenko A.Y.2
  • Affiliations:
    1. Pavlov First Saint Petersburg State Medical University
    2. Almazov National Medical Research Centre
  • Issue: Vol 65, No 1 (2019)
  • Pages: 19-30
  • Section: Articles
  • URL:
  • DOI:
  • Retraction date: 25.03.2020
  • Retraction reasons description:

    зать причину ретрагирования максимально подробно. Текст с пояснениями причин ретрагирования будет доступен читателям журнала на странице соответствующ

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Background. Anabolic androgenic steroids (AASs) are often used by individuals engaged in physical recreational activity. AASs inhibit the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad axis and can cause erectile dysfunction and reduced fertility. There is no data on the use of AASs in this category of people in the Russian Federation; therefore, a study exploring the rate and patterns of using steroids for non-medical purposes is topical. Aim — of this study was to investigate the rate and patterns of using AASs in males attending gyms in Saint Petersburg. Material and methods. We used individual anonymous postal survey of males attending gyms. We analyzed demographic and anthropometric data, information on the use of AASs, awareness of their side effects, used agents, patterns and duration of their use, and rehabilitation therapy. Results. Out of 1,815 sent questionnaires, we received back 762 ones. The criteria were met by 550 questionnaires. The mean age was 29.3±7.4 years. The use of AASs was reported by 30.4% of respondents. The main AAS (74.3%) consumers were males aged 22 to 35 years. The most popular drug was Testosterone Propionate (51.5%); the drug was often combined with Oxandrolone (19.7%). In 70.6% of cases, drugs were administered by injection or injection combined with tablet intake. The injectable testosterone dose ranged from 500 to 2,000 mg/week and above. The most common dose was 1,000 mg/week (23.9%). AAS administration for more than 1 year was reported in 16.1% of males. Anastrozole (55%), hCG (51.3%), Clomiphene (41.3%), and Tamoxifen (30.5%) were used during the recovery period. The main source of information on AASs, doses, and dosage patterns was the Internet (48.7%). A negative attitude towards AASs was found in 17.3% of respondents. The desire to receive qualified information about AASs and their impact on health was reported by 54.8% of the surveyed respondents. Conclusion. Almost every fourth gym visitor has experience in using AASs. These are males of an optimal reproductive age. The common pattern of using AASs is an aggressive steroid course followed by a recovery period. The list of used drugs and their doses indicate a significant pharmacological intervention and a high risk to health.

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About the authors

Mykola P Lykhonosov

Pavlov First Saint Petersburg State Medical University

SPIN-code: 2102-5358
MD, PhD student Pavlov First Saint Petersburg State Medical University 6/8 L’va Tolstogo street, St. Petersburg, 197022

Alina Yu Babenko

Almazov National Medical Research Centre

SPIN-code: 9388-1077
MD, PhD 2, Akkuratova str., St. Petersburg, 197341


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