Objectives: To assess the frequency and quantity of usage of permitted drugs by Italian professional soccer players.
Methods: A cohort of 1041 professional soccer players from the two Italian major Leagues was assembled during the season 2003-2004; 743 of the 785 subjects available the day of the interview (94.6%) answered an epidemiological questionnaire which included questions on type and frequency of use of several permitted drugs.
Results: Ninety-two percent of players reported to have used oral anti-inflammatory products in the previous year, and most of them were current users (86.1%). The use of analgesics was reported by 36% of the players, mostly current users. Eighty percent of the players reported current use of supplements, while 30% of the players were vitamin users.
Conclusions: the regular use of several permitted drugs is very high in professional soccer players. The description of players’ behavior is the first step towards a regular monitor of the players’ need for, and use of, vitamins, supplements and other permitted drugs.
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