The anabolic androgenic steroids, commonly referred to by the single term anabolic, they can be produced by the body (in this case they are said to be of endogenous origin), or synthesized in the laboratory so that they have a chemical structure and effects on the body similar to those of male sex hormones, in particular testosterone. Their use in medicine is limited and should not be confused with corticosteroids, a different type of steroid drug commonly prescribed in some diseases.

I'm anabolic (anabolic androgenic steroids) mesterolone, oxandrolone, oxymetholone, stanozolol. They work by increasing the strength and mass of skeletal muscles (protein-synthetic action) and causing the development of male sexual characteristics (androgenic effects) such as, for example, an increase in the amount of hair (hirsutism), development of the male genitalia and depth of the voice .

From a medical point of view the anabolic (anabolic steroids) are used to treat men who do not produce enough testosterone (hypogonadism), in certain types of anemia and in some forms of chronic muscle wasting. They can also be used to treat some types of breast cancer.
Given their potential dangerousness and the presence of numerous contraindications, their use must only take place following a doctor's prescription and under his control.

Side effects

The use of anabolic steroids determines a number of potential health risks, including:

  • cardiovascular dysfunctions (high blood pressure, cardiac hypertrophy, myocardial infarction)
  • liver damage
  • severe forms of acne
  • behavior disorders, such as increased aggression and violence
  • appearance of psychiatric disorders (hypomania)

In women, they can also cause masculinization by causing:

  • increased amount of hair (hirsutism)
  • lowering of the tone of the voice
  • atrophy of the mammary glands and breasts
  • menstrual cycle disorders
  • enlargement (hypertrophy) of the clitoris

In men they can determine:

  • atrophy of the testicles
  • impotence
  • infertility
  • abnormal development of the breasts (gynecomastia)
  • increased risk of prostate cancer

In young people, steroids can interfere with growth and behavior and lead to abnormal development of male characteristics.

Furthermore, it should be noted that the anabolic steroids purchased outside the authorized distribution circuit (pharmacies and parapharmacies) and not for medical purposes but for improper uses, they may be counterfeit or not comply with international rules for the quality of medicines. In addition, as these substances can be injected, sharing of syringes makes it possible for individual-to-individual transmission of infections such as hepatitis and HIV.

Improper use

Anabolics are sometimes taken not to cure a disease but to increase muscle mass and improve athletic and sports performance (doping). The use of anabolic androgenic steroids for doping purposes is always prohibited.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA, from English World Anti-Doping Agency) publishes a constantly updated list of substances whose use is considered doping.Inside you can find a detailed list (under the heading Anabolic agents, Anabolic Agents) of banned anabolic steroids.

Since 2000 in Italy it is prohibited by law and it is considered a criminal offense to procure to others, administer, take or in any case favor the use of drugs or biologically or pharmacologically active substances (such as anabolics) whose use is considered doping .

With the law 376/2000 the Commission for the supervision and control of doping and for the protection of health in sporting activities (today, Section for the supervision and control of doping and for the protection of health in sports activities of the Technical Health Committee of the Ministry of Health or SVD). His duties also include preparing the list of classes of drugs, substances or medical practices prohibited for doping. They are also periodically updated according to the indications of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

There Section for the supervision and control of doping (SVD) also carries out health and anti-doping checks on amateur sports activities in all sports disciplines and practices. Based on the results of doping controls carried out and collected in a report published every six months on the website of the Ministry of Health, it is possible to observe that the illicit use of anabolics is quite widespread among non-professional athletes. The use of anabolics for doping purposes can lead to the appearance of serious undesirable effects (side effects) and health risks as well as induce forms of addiction (read the Hoax).In this regard, nandrolone, an anabolic steroid whose use is prohibited for doping, due to the psychic effects it causes and its ability to induce addiction, has also been included in the list of narcotic and psychotropic substances subject to the supervision and control of the Ministry. of health.


NHS. Anabolic steroid misuse (English)

Mayo Clinic. Anabolic Steroid (Oral Route, Parenteral Route) (English)

In-depth link

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). World anti-doping code. International standard. Prohibited list 2021

Law n. 376 of 14 December 2000. Discipline of the health protection of sporting activities and the fight against doping. (Official Gazette No. 294 of 18 December 2000)

Pacifici R, Bacosi A, De Luca R, et al. Reporting System. Doping Antidoping 2019

Use or administration of drugs or other substances in order to alter the competitive performance of athletes. Criminal Code-art. 586 bis

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