Why do sportswriters insist on rewriting the medical textbooks? Because athletes decide to take advantage of a drug for their own particular use? For instance this post which once again identifies a diuretic as a 'weight loss' pill. The writer even thinks the drug is used to cut weight (as I said, cut off an arm or something to lose weight) rather than as a masking agent.
Just as the underground economy subverts the real economy, the underground medical practice subverts the actual researched indications for these drugs. And like the honest taxpayer who foots over his fair share to the Govt is cheated by the guy who trades cash under the table, the dishonest athlete cheats the drug free athlete (and I can't believe I defended paying taxes; that may be the dumbest analogy ever written).
Take the diuretic bumetanide (Bumex). That's a ridiculous generic name, even for this writer who worked with furosemide (Lasix) while in medical school. A diuretic (known in the press as a 'water pill' which isn't accurate because urine is far more than water) blocks physiological workings of the kidneys which then allow much more urine to flow -- but at a cost. The cost is the disequilibrium of fluid and electrolyte balance. Such a drug would be 'indicated' for heart failure, kidney disease, and perhaps liver failure where for various reasons the kidneys cannot filter the blood as well as in health.
The side effects? As mentioned fluid and electrolyte imbalance which can lead to fatal heart rhythms. The heart depends on electrical communications and electro-chemical interactions to keep beating (calcium, sodium, potassium, chloride). When a diuretic produces the diuresis (fluid output) it pulls those electrolytes with it, thus inducing the electrolyte problems. There is a reason your grandmother takes potassium (K) with Lasix or HCTZ in the morning. If not she lands in the hospital as my late mother did often in the past year for K depletion.
When the athletes take a diuretic - for NO MEDICAL reason -- they not only simply abuse the drug, but may produce a dangerous electrolyte imbalance. That can lead to death as it has with some NFL players in the past. So Deuce McAllister, for whatever reason he took the drug, risks some major problems with the illicit use.
When you hear of an NFL player taking Bumex, which is a major kick-arse diuretic, the only reason would be to dilute the urine, which would dilute the metabolites of other drugs -- either drugs like steroids, or perhaps other illicit drugs (thus we can suspect but not assume the 'masking' agents are masking anabolic steroids). None of the NFL player would suffer from heart, kidney, or liver conditions, and maintain an NFL career.
When the press calls Bumex or any diuretic a weight loss' drug, they are rewriting the medical text books. Any normal person will simply rehydrate in a matter of minutes (hours) to rebalance fluids and electrolytes (the most guarded physiological parameter in biology).
This reminds me of my cousin who wrestled in high school and college. He and his friends would try to lose weight by sweating, spilling into pop bottles, cutting their hair, shaving, and any way to reduce some bodily mass as quickly as possible (he once confided to me he was gong to ejaculate to try to lose a few grams; at least that's what he said). It's all temporary weight.(side effects after the jump)
SIde effects of Bumex, none of which an NFL player would want:
The most frequent clinical adverse reactions considered probably or possibly related to Bumex are muscledizziness (1.1%), hypotension (0.8%), headache (0.6%), nausea (0.6%) and encephalopathy (in patients with preexisting liver disease) (0.6%). One or more of these adverse reactions have been reported in approximately 4.1% of patients treated with Bumex. cramps (seen in 1.1% of treated patients),
Less frequent clinical adverse reactions to Bumex are impaired hearing (0.5%), pruritus (0.4%), electrocardiogram changes (0.4%), weakness (0.2%), hives (0.2%), abdominal pain (0.2%), arthritic painrash (0.2%) and vomiting (0.2%). One or more of these adverse reactions have been reported in approximately 2.9% of patients treated with Bumex. (0.2%), musculoskeletal pain (0.2%),