Testing for anabolic steroids in hair: a review

Leg Med (Tokyo). 2003 Mar;5 Suppl 1:S29-33. doi: 10.1016/s1344-6223(02)00085-8.


It is generally accepted that chemical testing of biological fluids is the most objective means of diagnosis of drug use. The presence of a drug analyte in a biological specimen can be used to document exposure. The standard in drug testing is the immunoassay screen, followed by the gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric confirmation conducted on a urine sample. In recent years, remarkable advances in sensitive analytical techniques have enabled the analysis of drugs in unconventional biological specimens such as hair. The advantages of this sample over traditional media like urine and blood are obvious: collection is almost noninvasive, relatively easy to perform, and in forensic situations it may be achieved under close supervision of law enforcement officers to prevent adulteration or substitution. Moreover, the window of drug detection is dramatically extended to weeks, months or even years. The aim of this review is to document the current detection of anabolic steroids in hair.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / analysis*
  • Doping in Sports*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Hair / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*


  • Anabolic Agents