In 2005, the use of Plan B (emergency contraception pills) was judged safe and effective by an FDA panel that recommended it be made available over the counter. This was controversial and thus not approved until late in 2006 for only women aged 18 and older
Even more controversial is RU-486, the abortion pill, taken during the first 49 days of pregnancy causing the embryo to be aborted
Anabolic steroids are generally synthetic versions of the male sex hormone testosterone used to promote the development of muscle mass and to enhance athletic performance
Testosterone – The male sex hormone which determines male sexual characteristics such as facial and chest hair (masculinizing effects), and helps build body tissues and repair damaged tissue (anabolic effects).
In 1990 the Anabolic Steroids Act was passed, which made these drugs Schedule III controlled substances
Physical side effects reported are acne, balding, and reduced sexual desire
Men often experience a decline in sperm count and enlargement of the breasts while women experience growth of facial and chest hair, breast shrinkage, deepening of the voice, and menstrual irregularities
Changes cholesterol levels that may increase the risk of heart disease
Damage to liver function with increased risk of liver cancer
In children or adolescents, premature bone fusion causing stunted growth and alteration of normal pubertal development are risks
Psychological effects include mild euphoria, increased energy levels, increased irritability and aggressiveness, mood swings, and even psychotic reactions have been reported
CONTEMPORARY ISSUE BOX 14.2 “BALCO, Bonds and Baseball”
Highlights the controversy surrounding BALCO and Barry Bonds, the implementation of a new steroid-testing policy with escalating penalties for positive tests, and discusses implications of widespread steroid use in sports.
The OTC performance-enhancing drug androstenedione, “Andro”, used by Mark McGwire during his record-breaking home run streak in 1998, was made illegal in 2004 because it was associated with many of the side-effects of anabolic steroids.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) divides drugs into two categories: those that require a prescription from a physician to purchase, and those considered safe enough to dispense without a prescription
OTC drugs are evaluated on two criteria: safety and efficacy
Cold sufferers spend $1.3 billion on OTC cold remedies in the united States every year
Common ingredients are aspirin or acetaminophen for aches, pain, and fever
Other ingredients of nonprescription cold and allergy medications include the decongestant pseudoephedrine, an expectorant such as guaifenesin, and an antitussive (cough suppressant) such as dextromethorphan.
Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) was a common ingredient until 2000 when the FDA withdrew OTC approval because it was found to increase the rsik of stroke
Popular brands are No-Doz and Vivarin
No-Doz contains the equivalent of one or two cups of coffee
Herbal Products, Hormones, and Dietary Supplements
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was passed in 1994 reducing the authority of the FDA to regulate herbal and other biological products that often contain psychoactive drugs
Many herbal drugs, amino acids, and hormones are marketed as dietary supplements. They include androstenedione, areca, DHEA, ephedra, ginkgo biloba, kava, melatonin, SAM or SAMe, St. John’s wort, and valerian
Androstenedione (“Andro”) is marketed as an alternative to steroids to enhance strength and performance
Areca is a palm tree cultivated in Southeast Asia , India, and Africa. The nuts of the palm, referred to as betel nuts, are chewed for a mildly stimulating effect much the way tobacco is chewed in the United States
DHEA claims that it prevents heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. It is also said to be an “antiaging” hormone. There is no evidence for such claims but it does produce acne, premature baldness, and other side effects noted with anabolic steroids
The main psychoactive ingredient in ephedra is ephedrine, a potent stimulant which has been associated with many side effects and some deaths due to heart attack and stroke
A large group of volatile compounds that can alter consciousness when taken into the lungs. Many are organic solvents that can damage the brain
Other side effects and hazards include headache, rapid heart beat, eye problems, numbness of the extremities, permanent peripheral nerve damage, psychotic behavior, movement disorders, kidney failure, and death from cardiovascular collapse or suffocation