The Availability and Acquisition of Illicit Anabolic Androgenic Steroids and Testosterone Preparations on the Internet

The lifetime prevalence of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) use in the United States is over 1%. Recent reports have suggested AAS can easily be obtained over the Internet without a prescription, but this has been poorly studied. This study focused on determining the availability and ease of purchase for AAS, testosterone, and other non-AAS therapies on the Internet from the perspective of a typical consumer. A Google search was performed and the top-ranking sites offering AAS for sale were individually evaluated for selection of AAS offered, the purchasing process, and additional consumer information to support AAS use. The current results revealed that 87% of sites offered commonly used forms of AAS, injectable testosterone, and non-AAS hormone therapies. Seventy-five percent offered at least one postcycle recovery agent and 62% offered at least one erectile dysfunction medication. No site required a prescription for purchase of any substance, 75% accepted common forms of payment including credit card, and all sites were supplied by unregulated international pharmacies providing shipment to home addresses with disclaimers that consumers are liable to local laws. Seventy-five percent of sites provided specific cycle and stacking recommendations, 62% provided postcycle recovery information, but only one site offered information on non-AAS alternatives. In conclusion, AAS, injectable testosterone, and other non-AAS therapies are readily available and remarkably easy to purchase on the Internet without a prescription. It is of paramount importance that clinicians are aware of this considerable public health problem given the detrimental physiologic effects including infertility and sexual dysfunction.

American journal of men's health. 2016 May 11 [Epub ahead of print]

J Abram McBride, Culley C Carson, Matt Coward

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA ., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA.