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Do anabolic steroids have any legitimate medical uses?

Do anabolic steroids have any legitimate medical uses?



      Anabolic steroids have several legitimate medical uses. 
 Testicular cancer often requires the removal of the testes in men. 
 After surgery, these men are prescribed oral anabolic steroids to
 replace the testosterone that their bodies are no longer able to
 make.  This maintains their secondary sexual
 characteristics.(1-3)

      Adolescent males with pituitary malfunction are treated with
 injectable anabolic steroids when they reach the appropriate age
 for puberty.  Anabolics given for four to six months in the proper
 dosing schedule cause the growth spurt and development of secondary
 sexual characteristics.(2-4)

      After certain kinds of surgery and cancer, the patient
 experiences loss of muscle tissue.  Anabolic steroids are used in
 such cases, with exercise and diet, to build up muscle
 tissue.(2,3,5)

      Anabolic steroids in high doses are given to transsexual women
 who wish to be permanently masculinized.(1)  This is not an
 officially approved medical use for anabolic steroids in the United
 States.

      Anabolic steroids may one day be used as male oral
 contraceptives.  However, their current negative image as abusable
 drugs has limited this research.(6)

      Doses of steroids for medically approved uses range from 2.5
 mg per day to 400 mg every 4 weeks.(3,5)  Usually, only
 a single anabolic steroid is taken at one time.  Athletes take 8 to
 10 times the maximum recommended dose of each agent, and often take
 more than one type at a time.(7)   In typical dosing
 schedules, athletes are taking the equivalent of 20 to 2000 mg of
 testosterone per day, 2 to 200 times the normal dose.(7,8)  More
 information about dosing schedules, is located under the question,
 "How are anabolics used by athletes?" 

      For most legal prescription applications, anabolic steroid doses
 approximate the small amounts of anabolic steroids that would be
 produced naturally by the body.  The right doses for different
 conditions are determined in drug company laboratories under
 controlled experimental conditions.  Before a test dose of any new
 drug is given to a human volunteer, extensive studies are done on
 animals to find out how strong the drug is and how much to give. 

      By contrast, anabolic steroid abusers get their instructions
 by hearsay.  Dosing directions are passed from one person to
 another without any evidence of effectiveness or adherence to
 medical prescribing standards.

       

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REFERENCES 1. Strauss RH. Anabolic steroids. In: ed. Drugs and performance in sports. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1987:5, 59-67. 2. Brower KJ, Catlin DH, Blow FC, Eliopulos GA, Beresford TP. Clinical assessment and urine testing for anabolic-androgenic steroid abuse and dependence. American Journal Of Drug And Alcohol Abuse 1991;17(2):161-71. 3. Kleiner SM. Performance-enhancing aids in sport - health consequences and nutritional alternatives. J Amer Coll Nutr 1991 Apr;10(2):163-76. 4. Lorimer DA, Hart LL. Cardiac dysfunction in athletes receiving anabolic steroids. DICP Ann Pharmacother 1990 Nov;24(11):1060-1. 5. Goldfien A. The gonadal hormones & inhibitors. In: ed. Basic and clinical pharmacology. Norwalk, CT: Appleton & Lange, 1987, 461-83. 6. Yesalis CE, Wright JE, Bahrke MS. Epidemiological and policy issues in the measurement of the long term health effects of anabolic-androgenic steroids. Sports Medicine 1989 Sep;8(3):129-38. 7. Kashkin KB, Kleber HD. Hooked on hormones - an anabolic steroid addiction hypothesis. JAMA J Am Med Assoc 1989 Dec 8;262(22):3166-70. 8. Giannini AJ, Miller N, Kocjan DK. Treating steroid abuse - a psychiatric perspective. Clinical Pediatrics 1991 Sep;30(9):538-42. by Trent Tschirgi, R. Ph. (c) 1992 University of Maryland Office of Substance Abuse Studies. All Rights Reserved.
Disclaimer: Steroid use is illegal in a vast number of countries around the world. This is not without reason. Steroids should only be used when prescribed by your doctor and under close supervision. Steroid use is not to be taken lightly and we do not in any way endorse or approve of illegal drug use. The information is provided on the same basis as all the other information on this site, as informational/entertainment value.

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