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Long-Term Use of Methamphetamine Disrupts the Menstrual Cycles and Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian Axis

Shen, Wen-wen MD; Zhang, Yi-Sheng MD; Li, Long-hui BS; Liu, Yu PhD; Huang, Xian-ni MS; Chen, Ling-hong MD; Zhou, Wenhua PhD

doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000021
Original Research

Objectives: Long-term use of methamphetamine (MA) induces the neuron damage and leads to multiple neuropsychiatric disorders. However, the effect of MA on the female reproductive functions has not yet been evaluated. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of abnormal menstrual cycling in female MA users.

Methods: Female MA users (N = 113) were recruited from the Zhangjiang Isolated Compulsory Detoxification Center. Gynecologic history and drug use history were recorded, and serum levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, prolactin, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone were measured.

Results: Long-term use of MA significantly altered the menstrual cycle, and 33.6% women suffered from abnormal uterine bleeding while using MA. Deregulation of sex hormones was observed in 73.3% of participants during abstinence. The most common patterns were simple anovular menstruation, which was caused mainly by a hypothalamic deregulation and pituitary suppression with or without ovarian suppression. Normal hormone levels were observed more frequently in participants abstinent for more than 10 months (39.5%) than in participants who were abstinent for less than 10 months (18.6%). However, no relationship was found between hormone deregulation and age or history of MA use.

Conclusions: The present data demonstrate that long-term use of MA results in the disruption of menstrual cycles and dysfunction of hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis in women.

From the Ningbo Addiction Research and Treatment Center, School of Medicine (WWS, LHL, YL, XNH, LHC, WZ), Ningbo University, Ningbo 315010, People's Republic of China; and Department of Gynecology (YSZ), the No. 1 People's Hospital of Ningbo, Ningbo 315010, People's Republic of China.

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Wenhua Zhou, PhD, Ningbo Addiction Research and Treatment Center, School of Medicine, Ningbo University, No. 42 Xibei St, Ningbo 315010, Zhejiang, China. E-mail:

WW Shen and YS Zhang contributed equally to this article.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Supported by National Key Technology R&D Program in the 12th Five-Year Plan of China (2012BAI01B07) and Nature Science Foundation of China (U1132602; 81071077) and sponsored by K. C. Wong Magna Fund of the Ningbo University.

Received August 27, 2013

Accepted December 19, 2013

© 2014 American Society of Addiction Medicine