Androgen abuse epidemiology

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To systematically review current epidemiological literature on androgen abuse. Estimates from 32 empirical epidemiological articles were reviewed.

Recent findings

Generally, androgen abuse epidemiology and prevalence is higher in Europe, the Middle East, North America (the USA), Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), and South America (Brazil) and lower in Africa and Asia. In contrast to the general population, androgen abuse epidemiology and prevalence is higher among athletes, injection drug users, recreational sportspeople, and sexual and gender minorities.

Summary

From the 1970s, androgen abuse spread from athletes into the general population. Consistent with previous evidence, reviewed studies suggest that androgen abuse epidemiology and prevalence is higher in Western cultural contexts, the Middle East, and South America (Brazil) and lower in Africa and Asia. Evidence also corroborates indications that androgen abuse is less prevalent among women (vs. men), and in the general population in contrast to particular subpopulations consisting of athletes, injection drug users, recreational sportspeople, and sexual and gender minorities. Adolescents’ androgen abuse should be of special concern. Androgen abuse in some nonsports occupations (e.g. security workers) requires further exploration. Polypharmacy and the Internet proliferation of androgens and other PIEDs require surveillance for prevention and harm reduction.

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