Friday, August 1, 2014

Synthetic Human Growth Hormone Use by Teens

An increasing number of teens are using synthetic human growth hormone (HGH) to enhance their appearance and/or their athletic performance, according to the latest survey from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.  Eleven percent of teens now say that they have used HGH at least once, up from 5% just a year ago.   Girls are nearly as likely to use HGH as boys.   Teens’ attitudes are changing, too; fewer teens report that there is a moderate or great risk associated with performance-enhancing drugs than in past years.  The full survey on teens’ attitudes toward HGH and other performance-enhancing steroids, as well as marijuana and prescription medicines, can be accessed here.

Whether HGH actually does enhance teens’ appearance or athletic performance is still an open question.  WebMD calls the effects of HGH on athletic performance “unknown”.   Nor is it known whether there are any long-term negative effects of HGH use on health.  And finally, there are no guarantees that HGH products sold illegally over the Internet actually contain HGH, as advertised.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency responsible for regulating medical drugs, has approved HGH for use by prescription only, for specific medical conditions.  It does not have the resources to prevent Internet sales of HGH, any more than the police are able to stop illicit prescription drug or marijuana use.  Teens are taking a risk by buying HCG over the internet, without a prescription.

For more on this subject, go to a previous blog post titled "Athlete Caught Doping with Growth Hormone."

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