Clinical Applications Of Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are artificial drugs that closely resemble male sex hormones like testosterone. The term ‘anabolic’ means that the drugs can rapidly speed up muscle growth. They can be administered orally, via a patch, spread on skin in the form of a gel or cream or injected. Such steroids should not be confused with corticosteroids, which are other medications used for inflammation treatment.

Clinical Uses

Generally, these are usually centered on the anabolic nature of the drugs. They are mostly used for patients whose condition causes a protein-calorie deficiency, which tends to increase morbidity and mortality. By curtailing this loss, many adverse effects of the illness can be prevented. Anabolic steroids are well proven to assist with weight gain for most diseases, with the exception of cancer.


Testosterone replacement and anabolic steroids are widely used for HIV infections. The most common uses include helping increase lean body mass and weight for patients. In one particular study, significant improvements in the patient’s weight, strength and body mass index were noted after an initial 250mg injection of IM testosterone. However, anabolic steroids are only effective when patients adhere to proper nutrition and exercise.

Hepatic Failure

This condition is commonly associated with wasting as well as protein-calorie malnutrition. The use of anabolic steroids, particularly oral agents, can be crucial in restoring hepatic function. This especially applies for patients with alcoholic hepatitis who often lose weight due to poor nutrition. Anabolic steroids can significantly boost recovery chances for various types of liver failure, especially those characterized by weight loss.

Recuperation From Wounds

Wounds, burns and other forms of physical body damage can also be remedied using anabolic steroids. Patients are normally treated using testosterone esters such as oxandrolone and stanozol. These increase the production of collagen in addition to boosting the activity of dermal fibroblasts. The main benefits here include vastly improved healing rates on wounds that were previously difficult to recover from.

Cancer-Associated Weight Loss

Anabolic steroids have for long been used due to their erythropoietic properties in treating leukaemia. The drugs have been proposed for use in managing the hypogonadal state that comes with cachexia. Additionally, this extends to the weight loss commonly associated with cancer. The former is especially quite common.

Renal Failure

The substances can also be used to treat renal failure, especially where the patients are on hemodialysis. A study conducted on about 30 patients placed on nandrolone showed significant improvements in functional parameters and lean body mass as well. Further studies also show that the erythropoietic attributes possessed by anabolic steroids could help in managing chronic renal illnesses. This is especially so when the agent is used in combination with erythropoietin to boost gains in hematocrit.

These are just a few of the many conditions that anabolic steroids can be used to treat. In most cases, the patients are advised to increase their protein and calorie intake. When used according to the doctor’s prescription, the drugs are usually effective and safe. However, the long-term use of steroids hasn’t been proven to be completely safe by experts.