American Journal of Infectious Diseases

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

Todd T. Brown, Amy B. Wisniewski and Adrian S. Dobs

DOI : 10.3844/ajidsp.2006.130.135

American Journal of Infectious Diseases

Volume 2, Issue 3

Pages 130-135


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.


© 2006 Todd T. Brown, Amy B. Wisniewski and Adrian S. Dobs. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.