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Androgens and Athletes

S. Douglas Frasier, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1973;125(4):479-480. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1973.04160040005001.
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Two of the most widespread beliefs in our society are that it is possible to get something for nothing and that bigger is better. These beliefs underlie the use of androgenanabolic steroids as promoters of muscle strength and endurance. Although there are no data which allow estimation of the magnitude of self-administration of these drugs, their use appears to be an increasingly widespread practice among professional, college, and high school athletes. It may even have extended to the level of Pop Warner football and the Little League.

Assuming that androgen-anabolic steroids are of benefit to athletes, which probably is erroneous, are they safe? A large number of steroids have been developed in an attempt to separate anabolic activity from androgenicity. Although many such agents have a relatively high anabolic-androgenic ratio, it has not been possible to completely separate these two activities in any of them.1 The relative anabolic


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