Anabolic steroids: a review of the literature

Am J Sports Med. Nov-Dec 1984;12(6):469-84. doi: 10.1177/036354658401200613.


The use of anabolic steroids by athletes is controversial. On the one hand, many athletes believe that steroids improve athletic performance and thus provide an advantage to those who use them. On the other hand, the medical and scientific communities believe that inadequate scientific data exist to support the claim that anabolic steroids can improve athletic performance while overwhelming scientific data demonstrate their deleterious effects. Therefore, a large information and credibility gap concerning anabolic steroids exists between the athletes and the medical and scientific communities. We believe that this gap can be closed if both groups are better informed about anabolic steroids. We provide a detailed review of the literature on anabolic steroids that provides to the reader the information needed to make an informed decision on the relative risks and benefits of anabolic steroids to the athlete.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Anabolic Agents* / pharmacology
  • Doping in Sports*
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology
  • Peliosis Hepatis / etiology
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects*
  • Reproduction / drug effects
  • Weight Lifting


  • Anabolic Agents