[Severe cholestasis with kidney failure from anabolic steroids in a body builder]

Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 1999 Sep 10;124(36):1029-32. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1024477.
[Article in German]


History and admission findings: A 28-year-old body builder was admitted because of jaundice. For 80 days, until 3 weeks before hospitalization, he had been taking moderately high doses of anabolic steroids: metandienone (methandienone), 10-50 mg daily by mouth, and stanozolol, 50 mg intramuscularly every other day. Physical examination was unremarkable except for yellow discoloration of the skin and sclerae.

Investigations: Bilirubin concentration was raised to 4.5 mg/dl, cholestasis enzymes were normal, while transaminase activities were raised. Liver biopsy was compatible with cholestasis induced by anabolic steroids.

Treatment and course: Although the steroids had been discontinued, the patient's general condition deteriorated over 7 weeks. Serum bilirubin rose up to a maximum of 77.9 mg/dl. In addition renal failure developed with a creatinine concentration of 4.2 mg/dl. The patient's state improved simultaneously with the administration of ursodeoxycholic acid and the biochemical values gradually reached normal levels after several weeks.

Conclusion: Anabolic steroids can cause severe cholestasis and acute renal failure. In this case there was a notable temporal coincidence between the administration of ursodeoxycholic acid and the marked clinical improvement.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / diagnosis
  • Acute Kidney Injury / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Anabolic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anabolic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / diagnosis
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / etiology*
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / metabolism
  • Cholestasis / chemically induced*
  • Cholestasis / diagnosis
  • Cholestasis / metabolism
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Methandrostenolone / administration & dosage
  • Methandrostenolone / adverse effects*
  • Stanozolol / administration & dosage
  • Stanozolol / adverse effects*


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Stanozolol
  • Methandrostenolone