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Am J Infect Dis. 2006;2(3):130-135.

Gonadal and Adrenal Abnormalities in Drug Users: Cause or Consequence of Drug Use Behavior and Poor Health Outcomes.

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Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.


Opiates and cocaine both have effects on adrenal and gonadal function. Opiates suppress the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, whereas cocaine leads to HPA activation. Opiates also cause gonadal dysfunction in both men and women. During withdrawal from opiates and cocaine, the HPA axis is activated which may reinforce relapse behavior. This review describes these hormonal effects and explores the potential consequences, including the effects on mood cognition and cardiovascular risk. Modification of the drug-induced hormonal dysfunction may represent a treatment strategy for drug rehabilitation.


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