Illegal use of human growth hormone common among young male weightlifters

Jan 20, 2011

A new study published in The American Journal on Addictions reveals that illicit use of HGH (human growth hormone) has become common among young American male weightlifters. Additionally, illicit HGH use in this population is often associated with polysubstance abuse involving both performance-enhancing and classical drugs.

HGH, once an expensive performance-enhancing drug used exclusively by elite athletes, has become cheaply available for illicit users on the street.

Researchers led by Brian P. Brennan, MD, MSc, of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School, evaluated 231 male weightlifters in the U.S. aged 18-40 and their reports of .

Results found that 27 (12 percent) reported illicit use of HGH and/or its close relative, insulin-like growth factor-I. All of these 27 men had also used anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), and 15 (56 percent) also reported current or past dependence on opioids, , and/or ecstasy.

These findings suggest that illicit HGH use is common, and is usually associated with abuse of both AAS and ordinary street drugs.

"The long-term risks of high-dose HGH use are little studied, but available evidence suggests that long-term high-dose HGH may have serious medical consequences, including cardiac, , and respiratory effects, as well as increased risk for certain cancers," Brennan notes. "Our findings suggest that mounting illicit HGH abuse may represent a dangerous new form of with potentially severe public health consequences."

Explore further: CDC charges Johns Hopkins to lead development of Ebola training module

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Human growth hormone: Not a life extender after all?

Jan 26, 2010

People profoundly deficient in human growth hormone (HGH) due to a genetic mutation appear to live just as long as people who make normal amounts of the hormone, a new study shows. The findings suggest that HGH may not be ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments : 0