Int J Sports Med 1997; 18(7): 557-562
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-972681
Behavioural Science

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Indications of Prevalence, Practice and Effects of Anabolic Steroid Use in Great Britain

P. Korkia1 , G. V. Stimson2
  • 1University of Lutoin, Luton, Bedfordshire LU13JU, England
  • 2The Center for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour, London SW61 RQ, England
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
09 March 2007 (online)

A growing number of reports of anabolic-androgenic streroid (AS) use in Great Britain (GB) among non-competitive groups have emerged since the beginning of 1990s. A study was commissioned by the Departments of Health for England, Scotland and Wales, to explore the extent and uses of AS from the public health point of view. As a part of a wider investigation into AS use, 21 gymnasia in England, Scotland and Wales were surveyed by questionnaire. The response rate was 59 %. We found that of the 1667 participants, 9.1 % of the men and 2.3 % of the women had taken AS at some time and 6 % of the men and 1.4 % of the women were current users. Considerable variation in the prevalence of use was found, ranging from no reports in three of the gymnasia, up to 46 %. We also investigated patterns of AS use and perceived side-effects in a wide-ranging group of AS users (n = 110), who were recruited through social networks. In-depth interviews with the users revealed that the 97 men (27 ± 7 years) and 13 women (25 ± 5 years) had been using AS regularly for 2.05 ± 1.7 years and 1.9 + 2 years, respectively. Seventy-two injected AS. While most injected themselves, 25 % were mainly injected by their friend. Up to 16 different drugs were taken by interviewees during the present or last cycle. Polydrug use was common and dosage taken exceeded therapeutic recommendations. Sixteen interviewees did not report side-effects, while the majority reported two or more. Many of these were cosmetic. Of the 97 men interviewed, 56 % reported testicular atrophy, 52 % gynaecomastia, 36 % elevated blood pressure, 56 % fluid retention, 26 % injuries to tendons, 22 % nosebleeds and 16 % more frequent colds. Six men reported problems with kidney function and five with liver function. Problems with sleep were reported by 37 %. Of the 13 women interviewed, eight reported menstrual irregularities, eight fluid retention, four clitoral enlargement, three decreased breast size and two elevated blood pressure. Four reported sleeplessness.