Performance-Enhancing Drugs Potentially Mislabeled

More than half of selective androgen receptor modulators sold online could be mislabeled

(RxWiki News) Performance-enhancing drugs sold online could come with inaccurate labels, according to a new study.

Multiple selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) may contain hidden ingredients or amounts of substances that do not reflect the information on the product label, this study found. This could pose health risks to people who use these products.

Athletes, bodybuilders and soldiers appear to be using SARMs in increasing amounts to improve athletic performance, the authors of this study noted. While these substances may have clinical uses, they are currently under investigation and have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Because the FDA has not approved SARMs for use, the way most users obtain them is via the internet.

"Our investigation shows how easily these products can be obtained over the internet, despite the fact that their safety and effectiveness have not been determined," said study author Dr. Shalender Bhasin, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, in a press release. "Many of these products are sold as dietary supplements, although these compounds do not meet the definition of a nutritional supplement. For many products, the ingredients and amounts found through our analysis did not match label information."

These researchers tested 44 SARM products available for sale online. Of these, 48 percent did not actually contain any SARMs. Only 41 percent of the products had the accurate amount of compound listed on the label. In addition, 25 percent contained ingredients that were not listed on the label. Some products contained no active ingredients.

If you are concerned about any supplement or over-the-counter drug you are taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

This study was published in JAMA.

The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine funded this research. Information on potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.

Review Date: 
December 3, 2017