SI Vault
September 20, 1965
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September 20, 1965


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The American Medical Association's Committee on the Medical Aspects of Sports cautioned athletes and coaches last week against the use of two new types of drugs—one a painkiller, the other intended to induce weight gain.

The painkiller, DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide), is new and as yet not fully tested. Applied to the skin, it penetrates and does appear to reduce pain, but the medically pure grade is not legally available except to doctors investigating it. The industrial grade contains impurities which could penetrate the skin along with the DMSO. And, as the committee pointed out, "pain is a respected safeguard against the premature return of the athlete to competition."

The weight-gain drugs (androgenic-anabolic steroids) can have horrendous results. In prepubertal boys, the committee warned, they may stop growth, induce precocious puberty and decrease testicular size. In the pubertal boy, the warning continued, the steroids markedly suppress production of testosterone, a male hormone. And in adult males, testicular size and function revert to the prepubertal stage, and there is "decreased libido."

A gain of a few pounds would not seem to be worth it.

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