Androgenic anabolic steroid use and severe hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction: a case study

Int J Sports Med. 2003 Apr;24(3):195-6. doi: 10.1055/s-2003-39089.


The data of the present case demonstrate that the abuse of androgenic anabolic steroids (AAS) may lead to serious health effects. Although most clinical attention is usually directed towards peripheral side effects, the most serious central side effect, hypothalamic-pituitary-dysfunction, is often overlooked in severe cases. Although this latter central side-effect usually recovers spontaneously when AAS intake is discontinued, the present case shows that spontaneous recovery does not always take place. We suggest that hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction should always be considered in the differential diagnosis in athletes seen with typical presentation of anabolic steroid use. In order to regain normal hypothalamic-pituitary function, supraphysiological doses of 200 microg LH-RH should be considered when the physiological challenge test with LH-RH (50 microg) fails to show an acceptable response.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anabolic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Atrophy
  • Doping in Sports / methods
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / chemically induced
  • Hypogonadism / drug therapy
  • Hypothalamic Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Hypothalamic Diseases / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Pituitary Diseases / chemically induced
  • Pituitary Diseases / drug therapy
  • Testis / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Lifting


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone