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Anabolic Steroids Increase the Risk of Dying

Anabolic Steroids promote muscle growth. An estimated 3 to 4 million individuals in the United States have used them during their lifetime. A limited number of studies have associated these drugs with serious adverse health effects.

Recently, Danish researchers published a retrospective observation study in JAMA that followed 1,189 Danish males who had been sanctioned for drug doping from January 3, 2006, to March 1, 2018. They also followed 59,450 male control participants. The mean age among the anabolic steroid users and control participants was 27.4 (SD, 6.9) years. Both groups were followed for up to 18 years. The mean follow-up time was 11 years.

During this time, steroid users were 2.8 times more likely to die from all causes, compared to the matched controls. One in 36 steroid users died during the study period, compared to only 1 in 103 controls.

Anabolic steroid users had a higher number of deaths from both natural causes (heart attacks, cancer) and unnatural causes (accidents, homicide, suicide). This finding suggests that anabolic drug use was associated with both physical and mental adverse effects. For example, it’s known that steroid users have increased risk-taking behaviors.


Windfeld-Mathiasen J, Heerfordt IM, Dalhoff KP, Andersen JT, Horwitz H. Mortality Among Users of Anabolic Steroids. JAMA. Published online March 14, 2024. doi:10.1001/jama.2024.3180

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