Anabolic Steroids

“Anabolic steroids” is the familiar name for synthetic substances related to the male sex hormones (e.g., testosterone). They promote the growth of skeletal muscle (anabolic effects) and the development of male sexual characteristics (androgenic effects) in both males and females.“1 The proper term for these compounds is “anabolic-androgenic steroids”.

There are over 100 types of Anabolic steroids - all need a prescription.  It is illegal to prescribe steroids for the sole purpose of bodybuilding.

Anabolic steroids are used to encourage the development of muscle tissue, increase strength, reduce swelling, and increase muscle size. They are used to treat conditions that occur when the body produces abnormally low amounts of testosterone: ex. anemia, delayed puberty and some types of sexual dysfunction’s (impotence).

They are also be used in the treatment of cancer (leukemia, breast), mental disorders, osteoporosis, severe burns, and for treating diseases that result in a loss of lean muscle mass.

Anabolic steroids in common use by Drug name >>> Brand / Trade name

  • Anadrol
  • Andriol >>> Androxon, Understor, Restinsol
  • Boldenone undecylenate >>> Equipoise
  • Depo-Testosterone
  • Methandrostenelone, Metandienona >>> Dianobol, Anabol, Bionabol, Naposim
  • Nandrolone decanate >>> Deca-Durabolin
  • Oxandrolone >>> Anavar, Oxandrin
  • Oxymetholone >>> Anapolon, Androlic-50, Oxybolone
  • Stanozolol >>> Winstrol

What are the possible effects of Anabolic steroids use?

  • Increase in body weight
  • Increase in muscle strength
  • Enhance athletic performance
  • Increase physical endurance

How are steroids taken?

Orally or by intramuscular injection. They may be taken:

  • In Combination: where a steroid is used in conjunction with another substance.
  • On an on-and-off cycle where the steroids are taken for a certain period of time, and then stopped for the same length of time or longer.
    For example,  6 : 6 - Take steroids for six weeks, then stop for 6 weeks or longer, then resume for 6 weeks.
  • On a pyramide cycle where dosage is gradually increased, then slowly reduced
  • Used randomly.
  • Stacked: when more than one type of steroid is used at a time.
  • In declining use: where steroid use is gradually redused

Chronic / long term use of Anabolic steroids may cause

  • Stunted growth: The use of anabolic steroids by youth may artificially signal the bones to stop growing sooner than they normally would have done.
  • Quick weight and muscle gains
  • Behavioral changes: extremely aggressive behavior or “Roid rage”
  • Severe skin rashes, purple or red spots on body, unexplained darkness of skin, jaundice
  • Severe acne on shoulders, neck, and face
  • Loss of appetite
  • Persistent unpleasant breath odor
  • Swelling of feet or lower legs
  • Sexual function problems
  • Risk of infectious diseases like Hepatitis and HIV/Aids from sharing needles.

    • Additional effects in males
      • Development of breasts
      • Premature balding
      • Shrinking of the testicles
      • Impotence, male infertility
    • Additional effects in females

      • Deepening of the voice
      • Loss of scalp hair while increase in body hair
      • Development of the jaw
      • Enlargement of the clitoris
      • Smaller breasts
      • Fewer menstrual cycles.
      • Some of these effects may be irreversible

What are the risks associated with pregnancy and Anabolic steroids use?

  • Infertility can result from an extended period of anabolic steroid use
  • May cause growth retardation of the fetus
  • Risk of pseudohermaphroditism - baby born that has both male and female physical body and character traits

Symptoms of Anabolic steroid overdose

There is limited information at this time to establish risks of overdose from the use of steroids.

Withdrawal symptoms

  • Significant weight loss
  • Depression
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Behavioral changes
  • Trembling

Did you know?
In most countries, the importation, trafficking, and possession of anabolic steroids for the purpose of trafficking are all punishable offences.


Bahrke, Michael S. , Charles E. Yesalis III, and James E. Wright. “Steroids and Mental Health”  Psychological and Behavioural Effects of Endogenous Testosterone Levels and Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids Among Males: A Review   Ch 5; p.9.  1990  [20 April 2003]

“DEA Briefs & Backgrounds : Drugs & Drug Abuse, Drug Desriptions, Steroids Factsheet.” March 2003 U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.  [15 April 2003]

“Research Report Series : Anabolic Steroids Abuse” NIDA .- NIH Publication No. 00-3721. Printed 1991, Revised 2006. National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  [29 May, 2009]

“Drugs and Sport: the Score” RCMP, Cat. No. PS64-2/2004, 18 Nov, 2008. Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  [30 May, 2009]