Tetrahydrogestrinone analysis and designer steroids revisited

Bioanalysis. 2009 Nov;1(8):1475-89. doi: 10.4155/bio.09.136.


Anabolic steroids are the main abused class of prohibited substances in doping control. These steroids are associated with enhancement of muscular mass and aggressiveness, resulting in increased performance. Chromatography and MS have a key role among methods developed to detect anabolic steroids in doping control laboratories. However, the classical analytical approach fails in detection of the so-called 'designer steroids'. This review focuses on the rise of tetrahydrogestrinone, a drug that became synonymous with designer steroids. The reasons why classical methods fail in tetrahydrogestrinone detection are discussed and how the detection was implemented is shown. Alternative strategies for detection of new drugs designed to cheat current analytical methodology are highlighted. Concern for the abuse of veterinary designer drugs and supplements is also acknowledged.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / analysis*
  • Chemistry Techniques, Analytical / methods
  • Designer Drugs / analysis*
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Doping in Sports
  • Gestrinone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Gestrinone / analysis
  • Humans
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Veterinary Drugs / analysis*


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Designer Drugs
  • Veterinary Drugs
  • Gestrinone
  • tetrahydrogestrinone