Oral Anabolic Steroids (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.

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What drug 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.

List of generic and brand names available for oral anabolic steroids available in the US

Examples of anabolic steroids available in the use are:

What formulations are available?

This medication is available as tablets.

Is it safe to take these drugs if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding my baby?

  • No, they are not safe to take if you are pregnant or nursing your baby. The 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.
  • Doctors and researchers don't know if this type of drug is excreted in breast milk. Therefore, you shouldn't take these drugs if you are breastfeeding, and if you are taking them you should stop due to the risk of serious adverse effects in the infant.

QUESTION

Testosterone is a chemical found only in men. See Answer

Summary

Oral anabolic steroids (androgens) are man-made drugs that have the effect on the body similar to testosterone. Oral anabolic steroids are prescribed to treat delayed puberty in boys, low muscle mass as the result of AIDS or HIV, breast cancer, anemia, and testosterone replacement therapy.

Treatment & Diagnosis

Medications & Supplements

Prevention & Wellness

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Medically Reviewed on 6/26/2019
References
FDA Prescribing Information.
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