September 29, 2020

Steroids Not a Scapegoat for Rhabdomyolysis at University of Iowa

The media’s knee-jerk reaction was to blame dietary supplements and/or anabolic steroids for the highly unusual cluster of rhabdomyolsis cases recently affecting the University of Iowa Hawkeye football program. “You have muscle breakdown from intense workouts. You have dehydration and then supplements which are nephrotoxic are damaging to the kidneys directly. That’s a perfect storm for kidney failure,” according to Dr. James Williams, of the St. Joseph Medical Center. While a dietary supplement would be a convenient scapegoat, evidence has yet to surface that suggests creatine or any other supplement is responsible.

Anabolic steroids are unlikely to be a scapegoat. Dr. Richard Auchus, an expert on steroid biosynthesis at UT Southwestern Medical School, summarily dismissed the connection between the muscle disorder and performance-enhancer drugs such as anabolic steroids and human growth hormone while suggesting recreational drugs as one possible culprit. “You don’t see rhabdomyolysis with anabolic steroid use or growth hormones. You can see rhabdo with GHB. It’s is one of those recreational drugs that can cause this,” according to the consultant to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). [Read more…]