Selling androgenic anabolic steroids by the pound : identification and analysis of popular websites on the Internet
/ F.G. Cordaro, S. Lombardo, M. Cosentino. - (Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 21 (2011) 6 (December); p. 247-259)
- PMID: 21210860
- DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01263.x
Internet websites offering androgenic anabolic steroids (AAS) were identified and available products were examined. Keywords for the website search were: "anabolic steroids," "anabolic steroids buy," "anabolic steroid purchase." The first 10 websites offering AAS in the first 10 pages of results were considered. At least two AAS-containing products per website were selected. Thirty AAS-selling websites were identified, mainly located in the United States (46.7%) and Europe (30%). Most websites sold other anabolic/ergogenic products (clenbuterol, 76.7%; GH/IGF, 60.0%; thyroid hormones, 46.7%; erythropoietin, 30.0%; insulin, 20.0%) or products for AAS-related adverse effects (mainly: estrogen antagonists, 63.3%; products for erectile dysfunction, 56.7%; 5α-reductase inhibitors, 33.3%; anti-acne products, 33.3%). AAS were sold as medicines (69.6%) or as dietary supplements (30.4%). AAS in medicines were mainly: nandronole (20.4%), methandrostenolone (18.4%), and testosterone (12.2%). Dietary supplements contained mainly DHEA and included several fake compounds. Manufacturers were declared for 97.9% of medicines and 66.7% of dietary supplements; however, several manufacturers were not found on the Internet. Described benefits were usually few adverse effects and no estrogenicity. Toxicity was seldom reported and presented as mild. Recommended doses were two-fourfold higher than current medical recommendations. In conclusion, misleading information and deceiving practices were common findings on AAS-selling websites, indicating their deleterious potential for public health.