The use and abuse of anabolic steroids in Olympic-caliber athletes

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1985 Sep;(198):169-72.


Self-medication with anabolic steroids by athletes, particularly in the sports of weight lifting and track and field, has become increasingly popular. In the 1983 Pan American Games, 15 athletes were disqualified for taking anabolic steroids. Athletes take steroids believing the steroids will allow increased periods of intensive training and will increase muscle strength with proper weight training. The athletes assume this increased strength and training will translate into better athletic performance. Most athletes taking anabolic steroids are taking very large doses with no thought as to the potential adverse side effects. They ignore the possibility of long-term problems relating to hypertension, liver dysfunction, and atherosclerosis for what they see as the immediate performance benefits. In an attempt to keep sports competition "clean" and to help protect athletes from harmful drugs, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the United States Olympic Committee have rules stating that the use of anabolic steroids is illegal. Drug testing is performed in Olympic and in many international competitions. Those people found using anabolic steroids are disqualified. This use of anabolic steroids indicates that for some athletes the need to win or to maximize performance supersedes any worries about future health.

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents*
  • Doping in Sports*
  • Humans
  • Risk
  • Self Medication
  • Track and Field
  • United States
  • Weight Lifting


  • Anabolic Agents