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Development of an ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method for the determination of anabolic steroids currently available on the black market in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

  • Tircova, Barbora1
  • Bosakova, Zuzana2
  • Kozlik, Petr2
  • 1 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Natural Science, Matej Bel University in Banska Bystrica, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia. , (Slovakia)
  • 2 Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. , (Czechia)
Published Article
Drug Testing and Analysis
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Nov 13, 2018
DOI: 10.1002/dta.2541
PMID: 30426709


Over the past decade, the use of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) by recreational bodybuilders and regular gym members has been increasing exponentially. However, there is a lack of knowledge on AAS products sold in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The aim of this study was to assess the quantity of active substances in AAS products obtained from AAS users in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In addition, the study also examines the current trends in counterfeit AAS products used by recreational bodybuilders and regular gym members. For this purpose, the authors developed and validated a universal ultra-high performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry method to determine the most popular doping substances in different pharmaceutical formulations (oil-based injectables, tablets, and capsules). This method was successfully utilized for the analysis of 358 AAS products. Our results showed that 58.9% AAS products analyzed contained the declared active substances at the declared concentrations, 15.9% contained no active substance, 16.8% were under-concentrated, 4.5% contained active substances different from those declared on the label, and 3.6% products were over-concentrated. Alarmingly, the results demonstrated that over 40% of the AAS analyzed failed to meet label claims and therefore may pose serious health risks to consumers. This study also highlighted that the availability of AAS should be more rigorously restricted and their quality closely monitored in order to protect AAS users. In conclusion, the authors have developed a precise, accurate, sensitive, selective, and robust method for the routine screening of products containing anabolic androgenic steroids. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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