Oral Anabolic Steroids
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
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:
What are oral anabolic steroids?
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. They are used for treating delayed puberty in boys, anemia, low muscle mass due to AIDs or HIV, breast cancer, and for replacing testosterone in men with low testosterone levels. 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 examples of oral anabolic steroids available in the US?
Examples of anabolic steroids include oxymetholone (Anadrol-50), and fluoxymesterone (Android-F, Halotestin).
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 from anabolic steroids include shrinking of testicles, breast enlargement (gynecomastia), low sperm count, increased hair growth, deeper voice and reduced breast size in women, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol, rage, violence and aggression. Liver disease and liver cancer also can occur.
What drugs interact with oral anabolic steroids?
Anobolic steroids increase blood levels and effects of cyclosporine by decreasing the breakdown of cyclosporine. They also reduce the breakdown of warfarin (Coumadin), increasing blood levels of warfarin and the risk of bleeding from warfarin.
What formulations of oral anabolic steroids are available?
Oral anabolic steroids are available as tablets.
What about taking oral anabolic steroids during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
They FDA classifies anabolic steroids in pregnancy as category X, which means that they are harmful to the fetus and should not be used during pregnancy. It is not known whether anabolic steroids are excreted in breast milk. They should be avoided by women who are breastfeeding or nursing and should be stopped due to the risk of serious adverse effects in the infant.
REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.
Last Editorial Review: 4/4/2014
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