An Evaluation of Anabolic–Androgenic Steroid Abusers Over a Period of 1 Year: Seven Case Studies

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The purpose of the study was to evaluate anabolic–androgenic steroid (AAS) abusing adults every 2 weeks with a comprehensive behavioral and clinical assessment battery. The study was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania Treatment Research Center; 10 subjects were enrolled and 7 completed the protocol. AASs and other drugs were obtained and self-administered by subjects through their usual mechanisms. On-study evaluations included medical, behavioral, and drug-use assessments. While a high incidence of mood disorders and substance abuse was found, few clinically relevant changes in physiological parameters or laboratory measures were noted throughout the study. Changes as measured by various behavioral rating scales were observed across time; however, these changes were not clearly related to periods of reported AAS use. Additional factors such as life events, subjects' other drug use, and the extended duration of activity of some of the AAS preparations probably influenced the results. Differences in subject-reported adverse effects were seen with respect to periods of AAS use and nonuse. Cycles of AAS nonuse were associated with a greater percentage of subject-reported increased testicular size, appetite, frequency of sexual activity, and libido. The results provide the first long-term, prospective evaluation of the effects of AASs, when these drugs are administered in a naturalistic pattern of abuse.

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