London, November 21: Men who use androgenic anabolic steroids, such as testosterone, may have a higher risk of premature death, a new study warns.
Mortality was three times higher among users of anabolic steroids – steroid androgens that included natural such as testosterone and synthetic – compared with non-users.
The higher use was also associated with a significant increase in hospital admissions due to high side effects, including acne, gynecomastia and erectile dysfunction.
Anabolic steroids are associated with a range of side effects that can be directly attributed to their pharmacological activities, according to lead author Henrik Horwitz of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
The life expectancy of androgenic anabolic steroid abuse is estimated at about 6 percent for men, but there is limited knowledge about the side effects of these drugs.
In the study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, 545 men who used androgenic anabolic steroids were compared with 5,450 controls.
The findings showed that the median annual number of hospital contacts was 0.81 for the androgen users of anabolic steroids and 0.36 for the controls.
In addition, acne, gynecomastia and erectile dysfunction affected more than 10 percent of androgenic anabolic steroid users.
Given the high androgen anabolic steroid abuse, these side effects are public health, the researchers noted.