The abuse of corticosteroids among Iraqis for weight gain purpose in Babylon, Iraq: A unique experience

Ali Abdurrahman Younis, Wasam Ibrahim Al-Admawi, Hamdy Fouad Moselhy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The abuse of corticosteroids, among Iraqi women, in the Babylon governance and some parts of Iraq was noted during the last 2 decades. This inspired our group to research into the existence of this problem among Iraqi in Al Hilla city. Our objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that there is an abuse of corticosteroids among this target group for weight gain purposes. METHOD: The patients included in the study were recruited from all subjects who had consecutively visited the 3 primary health centers in Al Hilla city, Babylon Governorate, Iraq, during a period of 150 days (September 2001 to January 2002). A predesigned questionnaire was used to extract sociodemographic information, and detailed clinical history, mental status examination, and drug use histories from patients. RESULTS: One hundred twenty patients out of 7309 used corticosteroid for weight gain purposes. Females were over represented (80.8%). The average age of the sample was 29 years. Eighty percent felt satisfied with the effect of the drug and 90% were not motivated to stop it. Majority of the patients experienced mood changes but no clear psychiatric syndromes. Doctors were significantly the main source of information about the weight gain effects of corticosteroids. CONCLUSIONS: There are a significant number of patients who routinely misuse dexamethasone. The main original reason for starting it is gaining weight and improves their physical appearance. This issue raises the need for awareness by both general public and medical practitioners of the potential adverse effects of corticosteroids and its devastating consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-115
Number of pages5
JournalAddictive Disorders and their Treatment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Abuse
  • Corticosteroid
  • Weight gain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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