Androgens and Androgen Derivatives: Science, Myths, and Theories. Explored From a Special Operations Perspective

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Givens ML, Deuster PA 15(3). 98 - 104 (Journal Article)

Androgen use outside of legitimate medical therapy is a perceived concern that is drawing attention across military and specifically Special Operations Forces (SOF) communities. For leadership and the medical community to properly address the issue and relate to those individuals who are using or considering use, it will be crucial to understand the scope of the problem. Limited data suggest that the prevalence of androgen use may be increasing, and inferences made from the scientific literature suggest that SOF may be a population of concern. While risks of androgen use are well known, there are little data specific to military performance that can be applied to a rigorous risk:benefit analysis, allowing myths and poorly supported theories to perpetuate within the community. Further efforts to define the potential benefits balanced against the short- and longterm risks should be undertaken. Providers within the SOF community should arm themselves with information to engage androgen users and leadership in meaningful discussion regarding androgen use.

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