G Keith Gill


Performance-enhancing drugs and substances have been an integral part of athletics and society. The immense popularity and financial compensation associated with success in sports often results in a desire to win at all costs, which stimulates a never-ending appetite for use of ergogenic aids. Athletes have experimented with these substances (ranging from over-the-counter supplements to anabolic-androgenic steroids and beyond) if a possibility of advantage exists, whether scientifically or theoretically supported. As the technology to create new designer drugs becomes more available, the ability to test for the presence of these substances lags slightly behind. The knowledge base of sports-medicine physicians must constantly grow as new drugs and testing protocols change yearly. To help identify and evaluate the effects of performance-enhancing drugs on patient-athletes, I reviewed the history and current studies on anabolic steroids and related substances such as androstenedione, human growth hormone, Beta-2 agonists, stimulants, creatine, erythropoietin, beta blockers, and beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate. It is critical to be aware of the substances and related side effects to properly educate athlete-patients in decision making and help keep them eligible for participation in sports.

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