• synthetic androgenic steroid hormones that are analogues of testosterone two effects on body – androgenic (eg deepen voice, facial hair, development of sexual organs) and anabolic (eg development of muscle mass). Very limited uses clinically.
• believed to be used because they increase protein synthesis in skeletal muscle cells and inhibit the catabolic effect of glucocorticoids; also stimulate release of growth hormone. They also have effects on the CNS and neuromuscular junction and may also have a placebo effect.
• taken illegally by athletes orally or intramuscularly – obtained from a well developed ‘black market’ – believed to be widely used in power sports (eg weight lifting, bodybuilders, sprinting); oral route is less toxic to liver
• not only used by professional/elite athletes – has been shown to be taken by some recreational, high school and college level athletes (some studies put high school athlete use in USA around 2-3%)
• benefits – increase in lean body mass; increased strength; increased speed and endurance; decreased recovery time
• ‘stacking’ – combination of anabolic steroids
• usually taken in a cyclical fashion with times of heavy use, then periods of no use to reduce side effects. “Pyramiding” – practice of increasing dose during the cycle.
• side effects – liver cancer; impotence & testicle atrophy in males; deeper voice n females; increased risk fro tendon rupture and osteoporosis; acne, alopecia, cardiac problems; psychoses, aggressiveness, mood swings and depression.