Objective: To know the actual abuse of anabolic steroids by amateur athletes in our environment as well as actions and secondary effects resulting from such abuse.
Methods: Analytical observational study from May 1997 to November 1998. Forty-three therapy courses with anabolic steroids among 39 male athletes were studied. Diet and training were standardized for all participants. A verification was made that the test group started from a basal state.
Results: Duration of therapy was 6 weeks and the mean total dose was 2,928 mg. Significant differences were found in the test group regarding basal and post-therapy values for: transaminases (AST: 29.8 vs 45.0 IU/l, p < 0.001. ALT: 32.9 vs 51.4 IU/l, p < 0.01), cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol (31.4 vs 19.7 mg/dl, p < 0.01), LDL-cholesterol (145.9 vs 173.5 mg/dl, p < 0.01), LH (2.1 vs 0.2 U/l, p < 0.001), FSH (3.3 vs 0.4 U/l, p < 0.001), free testosterone (14.4 vs 34.0 pg/ml, p < 0.001), 17-beta-estradiol and arm muscular section (98.8 vs 103.7 cm2, p < 0.001). The inclusion of testosterone in therapy introduced a significant difference with respect to the use of synthetic anabolic agents alone, in total testosterone (4.5 vs 0.9 ng/ml, p < 0.001) and 17-beta-oestradiol, but neither with respect to free testosterone nor arm muscular section. An 84.6% of individuals in the problem group stated to complete two therapy courses in a year.
Conclusions: The use of anabolic steroids increases the lean muscular mass. The most relevant secondary effects included: increased transaminase serum levels, change in the lipid profile and suppression of the hypothalamus-pituitary gland-gonad axis. The inclusion of testosterone did not increase the lean muscular mass.