Hepatotoxicity associated with illicit use of anabolic androgenic steroids in doping

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2017 Mar;21(1 Suppl):7-16.


Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) abuse and misuse is nowadays a harmful habit involving both professional or recreational athletes, as well as general population. AAS are also frequently present in over-the-counter dietary supplements without being declared in the list of ingredients, leaving consumers unaware of the risks of adverse effects. Indeed, health risks of AAS consumption in pharmaceutical preparations or dietary complements seem still underestimated and under-reported. The variety of complications due to AAS misuse involves cardiovascular, central nervous, musculoskeletal and genitourinary systems of both males and females; psychiatric and behavioral effects, damages to metabolic system, skin and mainly liver. For instance, relevant concern has been raised by the AAS hepatotoxicity including adenoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, cholestasis, and peliosis hepatis. The present review reports the information available on the hepatotoxic effects of AAS use in professional and amateur athletes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Athletes
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / chemically induced*
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury*
  • Doping in Sports*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms
  • Steroids


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Steroids