Thread: Easy...But safe?
02-06-2002, 04:00 PM #1
Athletes Buy Performance Boosters Online with Ease
Wed Feb 6, 2:34 PM ET
By Alison McCook
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The case of a bodybuilder who suffered serious side effects after taking a drug purchased on the Internet without a prescription reveals the dangers of illegal online pharmacies, researchers report.
"The misuse of prescription-only medication that is readily available through the Internet must be considered in any sports person with worrying symptoms and signs, who otherwise seems fit and well," the investigators write.
The case report, presented in the latest issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, describes a 36-year-old bodybuilder who checked into the hospital after repeated blackouts. Doctors soon determined he had a type of irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation.
The doctors concluded that the patient was experiencing side effects related to bromocriptine, a drug that interferes with the neurotransmitter dopamine and is usually used to treat patients with Parkinson's disease.
The patient confessed he had purchased the drug online because it also helps burn off fat. He told the researchers that professional and amateur bodybuilders often use bromocriptine for this purpose.
Study co-author Dr. Ganesh Manoharan of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, Northern Ireland, told Reuters Health he believed the patient had been blacking out because the bromocriptine was causing his heart rate to slow to a dangerous level, inducing atrial fibrillation.
The patient was not taking high doses of the drug, but the researchers suspect the combination of the drug plus excessive training and steroid therapy added to the risk of complications.
Although his condition was not yet life threatening, the patient had hit his head during one fainting episode, requiring stitches. "The risk of death is difficult to estimate, but clearly if his heart continued to slow down, then there is a possibility that the heart could stop functioning, resulting in death," Manoharan explained.
Less than one week after stopping bromocriptine and the steroid therapy, the patient's normal heart rhythm was restored, and he suffered no further blackouts.
The researcher was less troubled by bromocriptine's side effects than by the fact that the patient had purchased the drug so easily on the Internet.
While doctors are now trained to ask patients whether they take medications from natural health stores, Manoharan said he believes fewer doctors ask about online prescriptions. "Generally, I don't think we (physicians) are aware at the ease at which medications are available on the Internet," he admitted.
Manoharan said this case also highlights how difficult it is for some bodybuilders to adjust their training regimen for the sake of their health. At the patient's one-year follow up, the doctor was troubled to hear that he had continued weight training and steroid therapy and had simply replaced bromocriptine with growth hormone and insulin injections.
02-06-2002, 10:02 PM #2
This demonstrates an unfortunate risk we all take when we purchase online but I think we all understand that risk. A very good thread and a good reminder of things we take for granted
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