Anabolic Steroids (Oral Androgens)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What are oral anabolic steroids, and how do they work?

Anabolic steroids are orally-ingested, synthetic (man-made) drugs that act like testosterone. They cause growth and development of male sexual organs, secondary sex characteristics, and increases in muscle size and strength.

What are the uses for these drugs?

This class of drugs are used for the treatment of:

They also are used for replacing testosterone in men with low testosterone levels.

Are these drugs abused?

Anabolic steroids often are abused by athletes for increasing muscle mass and performance. Non-athletes and non-competitive body builders also abuse anabolic steroids for cosmetic reasons.

What are the side effects of oral anabolic steroids?

Anabolic steroids have many side effects because testosterone, which they mimic, has many effects in the body. The long list if side effects include:

Liver disease and liver cancer also can occur.

What drugs interactions occur with this class of drugs?

  • Anabolic steroids increase blood levels and effects of cyclosporine by decreasing the breakdown of cyclosporine.
  • They reduce the breakdown of warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), increasing blood levels of warfarin and the risk of bleeding from warfarin.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/17/2017

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