Androgen use by athletes: a reevaluation of the health risks

Can J Appl Physiol. 1996 Dec;21(6):421-40. doi: 10.1139/h96-038.


It has been estimated that 1 to 3 million male and female athletes in the United States have used androgens. Androgen use has been associated with liver dysfunction, altered blood lipids, infertility, musculotendinous injury, and psychological abnormalities. Although androgens have been available to athletes for over 50 years, there is little evidence to show that their use will cause any long-term detriment; furthermore, the use of moderate doses of androgens results in side effects that are largely benign and reversible. It is our contention that the incidence of serious health problems associated with the use of androgens by athletes has been overstated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anabolic Agents / adverse effects
  • Androgens / administration & dosage*
  • Androgens / adverse effects
  • Doping in Sports*
  • Female
  • Health
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sports Medicine*
  • Sports*


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Androgens