Image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs)

IPEDs include:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Growth hormone
  • Tanning peptides – melanotan I and II, bremelanotide
  • Cosmetic injectables – botulinum toxin, dermal fillers
  • Oil injectable synthol (enlarges the appearance of muscle)

Often injected, and hence come with usual risks of injectable drugs of abuse – users should be vaccinated against Hep B (and Hep A if also drinkers or have other causes of liver disease that put them at risk) and be checked for Hep B & C and HIV.

Anabolic steroids increase the risk of CV disease (elevated lipid levels), liver disease, liver cancers. They’re also associated with increased risk of other drug abuse and of risky sexual behaviours.

Users should be offered referral to local community drug services. It may be helpful to check FBC, E&C, LFTs, and lipid profile while awaiting appointment.


(Pulse on-line learning module)


About Dr Sarah

I'm a GP with a husband and two young children.
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