The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) has warned fitness centres in the UAE against promoting and selling any kind of banned steroids and hormones for body building to gym goers.
A number of fitness centres have been selling hormonal steroids that are a threat to public health. Many such banned products were seized for examination by the health ministry’s Quality Control and Research Laboratory for Medical Products to identify the composition and harmful effects.
The ministry will also carry out a campaign in coordination with municipalities and health authorities to check the sale of unlicensed performance-enhancing drugs.
Dr Hessa Mubarak, Director of Health Empowerment and Compliance Department, highlighted the warnings of global pharmaceutical agencies against the use of such products as they contained steroid-like substances or synthetic hormones.
“These substances can be dangerous and cause serious health risks, including liver and kidney diseases. There’s no control over storage conditions which also leads to damage. In addition, they cause serious side effects such as acne, hair loss, increased aggressiveness and depression, and cause life-threatening reactions such as heart attacks, stroke, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism (blockage of one of the central blood vessels in the lungs),” Dr Mubarak explained.
The ministry is believed to have acted after being notified that some fitness instructors and trainers direct gym-goers to use oral or injectable steroids to enhance performance or physical appearance.
The ministry spokeperson said some fitness centres are either unaware or are ignoring the negative impacts of these drugs on the health of young people in their bid to attract members. “They tend to use illegal methods such as promoting banned steroids for increasing muscle mass to earn more money,” said the spokesperson.
Dr Mumbarak said hormones cannot be taken without proper prescription. “Most of these synthetic hormones enter the country illegally and are made by unlicensed companies. They do not conform to international standards. In order to take hormones, especially injectable ones, a prescription is needed from a licensed doctor and specialist, and should be based on medical tests to avoid dire health consequences,” said Dr Mubarak.
She warned against getting these hormones from abroad or through the Net.
Dr Mubarak advised those using performance-enhancing drugs to get periodic medical examinations done, because the long-term use of muscle-building products has adverse effects.