Metabolism of anabolic steroids and their relevance to drug detection in horseracing

Bioanalysis. 2010 Jun;2(6):1085-107. doi: 10.4155/bio.10.57.


The fight against doping in sport using analytical chemistry is a mature area with a history of approximately 100 years in horseracing. In common with human sport, anabolic/androgenic steroids (AASs) are an important group of potential doping agents. Particular issues with their detection are extensive metabolism including both phase I and phase II. A number of the common AASs are also endogenous to the equine. A further issue is the large number of synthetic steroids produced as pharmaceutical products or as 'designer' drugs intended to avoid detection or for the human supplement market. An understanding of the metabolism of AASs is vital to the development of effective detection methods for equine sport. The aim of this paper is to review current knowledge of the metabolism of appropriate steroids, the current approaches to their detection in equine sport and future trends that may affect equine dope testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / analysis*
  • Anabolic Agents / chemistry
  • Anabolic Agents / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Doping in Sports*
  • Horses / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Steroids / analysis*
  • Steroids / chemistry
  • Steroids / metabolism*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Steroids