Perturbations of the human menstrual cycle by oxymetholone

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1975 Jan 1;121(1):121-6. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(75)90987-4.


The luteolytic activity of oxymetholone, and anabolic steroid, has been evaluated in 10 women. Administration early in the follicular phase of the cycle inhibited ovulation and prolonged the duration of the cycles in 2 of 3 subjects, but treatment beginning on Day 10 (3 subjects) did not prevent ovulation, although subsequent plasma progesterone concentrations were reduced. Treatment after ovulation (4 subjects) suppressed progesterone levels by 50 to 80 per cent and shortened cycle length by 6 to 8 days. Side effects were weight gain and bromosulfophthalein retention. The most likely mechanisms producing these perturbations are the inhibition of luteinizing hormone release early in the cycle and, later, inhibition of progesterone biosynthesis.

PIP: 10 ovulating women were treated with oxymetholone in 1 of 3 ways: 1) 50 mg twice daily every other day starting on the sixth day of the treatment cycle (early follicular phase), 2) 50 mg twice daily every other day starting in the late follicular phase (tenth day), or 3) 100 mg daily starting in early luteal phase. 2 women treated in early follicular phase had ovulation suppression and cycles prolonged 9 to 10 days, with progesterone suppressed by ovulated, and a third had a 71% suppression of progesterone. In the third group, cycle lengths were shortened due to a luteal phase shortening of 6 to 8 days, with progesterone values decreased 53 to 81%. Side effects noted were: weight gain (9 out of 10 patients) transient nausea, and increased bromsulphalein retention.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Blood Cell Count
  • Blood Specimen Collection
  • Body Temperature
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • Corpus Luteum / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Menstruation / drug effects*
  • Ovary / physiology
  • Ovulation / drug effects*
  • Oxymetholone / administration & dosage
  • Oxymetholone / pharmacology*
  • Progesterone / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Progesterone / biosynthesis
  • Progesterone / blood
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Time Factors


  • Progesterone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Oxymetholone