Drug-induced liver injury from selective androgen receptor modulators, anabolic-androgenic steroids and bodybuilding supplements in Australia

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2024 Apr;59(8):953-961. doi: 10.1111/apt.17906. Epub 2024 Feb 19.


Background: Reports of DILI due to herbal and dietary supplements have been increasing over time.

Aims: To characterise clinical, laboratory and histopathological phenotypes and outcomes of drug-induced liver injury (DILI) due to anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), and bodybuilding supplements (BBS) in Australia.

Methods: Retrospective case series. Patients presented to nine Australian tertiary hospitals, 2017-2023. DILI was defined biochemically and patients were included if their treating physician attributed DILI to preceding use of AAS, SARMs or BBS. Primary endpoint was time to normalisation of liver biochemistry. Secondary endpoints were hospitalisation for investigation or management of DILI, death attributable to liver injury, and liver transplantation.

Results: Twenty-three cases of DILI were identified, involving 40 drugs: 18 AAS, 14 SARMs and eight BBS. Patients were predominantly male (22/23), with median age 30 years (IQR 26-42). Most were symptomatic (21/23). Median latency of onset was 58 days (IQR 28-112 days) from drug commencement. Most patients (17/23) were admitted to hospital. Based on updated Roussel Uclaf Causality Assessment Method, DILI was possible in 17/23, probable in 2/23 and unlikely in 4/23. Median time to normalisation of liver biochemistry was 175 days (IQR 70-292 days) from presentation. Three (3/23) were treated with corticosteroids, 14/23 were treated for itch, and one (1/23) underwent liver transplantation. There were no deaths.

Conclusions: The prognosis of DILI from AAS, SARMs and BBS is good although liver transplantation may rarely be required. A detailed drug history is important in uncovering DILI due to these supplements.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anabolic Androgenic Steroids
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury* / diagnosis
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury* / etiology
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Receptors, Androgen*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Steroids


  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Anabolic Androgenic Steroids
  • Steroids