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Adverse effects and potential benefits among selective androgen receptor modulators users: a cross-sectional survey

Abstract

Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) are a class of androgen receptor ligands that bind androgen receptors and display tissue selective activation of androgenic signaling. SARMs have selective anabolic effects on muscle and bone, and were originally synthesized for treatment of muscle wasting conditions, osteoporosis, breast cancer. To date, no SARM has been clinically approved and little is known about the beneficial effects and other adverse effects on users. We examined the adverse effects and potential benefits of SARMs amongst users. We performed an internet survey assessing the demographics of users via a 32-question survey. Using reddit as a platform, we distributed the survey through various subreddits that included potential SARMs users. Out of the 520 responses, 343 participants admitted having used SARMs. Most were males (98.5%), between the ages of 18–29 (72.3%). More than 90% of users acquired SARMs via the internet and did not consult with a physician. More than half of SARMs users experienced side effects including mood swings, decreased testicular size, and acne. More than 90% of men reported increased muscle mass and were satisfied with their SARMs usage. Despite having seemingly positive effects, more than 50% of SARMs users report significant adverse effects. Chi square was the main method of statistical analysis. Future studies should focus on comprehensive reproductive evaluation of men using SARMs.

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Acknowledgements

The authors have no financial disclosures. No funding was provided for this study.

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All listed authors contributed equally to writing of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Iakov V. Efimenko.

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There are no competing financial interests in relation to the work described. Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy has the following disclosures: Acerus Pharmaceuticals (Consultant); Boston Scientific (Consultant, Grant recipient); Coloplast (Consultant, Grant recipient); Endo Pharmaceuticals (Consultant, Grant Recipient); Metuchen (Consultant); Nestle Health (Consultant).

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Efimenko, I.V., Valancy, D., Dubin, J.M. et al. Adverse effects and potential benefits among selective androgen receptor modulators users: a cross-sectional survey. Int J Impot Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41443-021-00465-0

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