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About Steroids

Anabolic Steroids.
Anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives with effects similar to the male sex hormone - testosterone. The term steroid is the generic term given to compounds that contain in their structure a sterol nucleus (the basic nucleus in the structure of cholesterol). The correct name of this class of substance abuse is "ANDROGENIC-ANABOLIZING STEROSIS", taking into account the chemical structure and androgenic (male character) and anabolic (muscle development) effects that they produce.
However, the usual name is anabolic steroids, and the street names are: "arnolds", "gym candy", "pumpers", "roids", "stackers", "weight trainers", "juice" bodyroids.
Anabolic steroids were synthesized in the 1930s to treat hypogonadism, a condition in which testes do not produce enough testosterone for normal sexual growth, development, and functioning.
Their main medical use is the treatment of growth retardation, certain types of impotence, breast cancer or weight loss due to HIV infection or other diseases. They are also used by veterinarians to promote weight gain and vigor in animals (cats, dogs, cattle and horses) and to treat anemia.
In 1929, the first process for obtaining a powerful extract of bull's toothpaste was developed, and in 1935 this extract was obtained in a purified form. A year later, three researchers named Ruzicka, Butenandt and Hanisch simultaneously synthesized this compound, testosterone, based on cholesterol. This was the first anabolic steroid ever obtained and is the basis of all derivatives used today in medicine.
In 1936, testosterone was used in an experiment that demonstrated increased nitrogen excretion and increased body mass of a neutered dog that was given testosterone. There is information that, during World War I, German soldiers were given anabolic steroids, but this information is undocumented. Later, human experiments were performed and the potent anabolic effect of testosterone was thus demonstrated.
Between 1948 and 1954, the pharmaceutical company "Searle and Ciba" experienced more than one hundred synthetic testosterone derivatives and similar analogues. At the 1956 Olympics, Soviet weightlifters achieved exceptional results after administering a testosterone-like synthetic substance.
Shortly thereafter, John Zeigler, the physician of the US National Weightlifting Team, developed the first anabolic steroid meant to "strengthen" athletes. All of these determined, shortly, the use of anabolic steroids by other athletes.
Steroid abuse has spread so much among athletes that it has affected the results of competitions. For this reason, since 1975, these substances have been banned from athletes participating in the Olympic Games.
Since 1991 anabolic steroids have become controlled substances, as have amphetamines and glutetimide. At present, steroid abuse is widespread (in 2004 it is estimated at 1,084,000 the number of Americans who have used anabolic steroids), which is an alarming problem due to the continuous growth over the years, but also because they are quite easy. to be procured, being marketed even in nutritional supplements as steroid precursors (eg DHEH hydroepiandrosterone, androstenodione).
Another category of people known to be anabolic steroid users are those whose occupation requires increased physical strength: bodyguards, construction workers and even career soldiers.
The fourth category of people who abuse anabolic steroids is people who have previously been subjected to physical or sexual abuse.
They resort to this method to protect themselves, believing that if they are more corpulent, stronger, more intimidating or unattractive they will discourage further abuse. Statistics have shown that the history of rape has led to a doubling of the number of bodybuilders who abuse steroids.
The fifth category of steroid abusers consists of adolescents who have high risk behaviors such as: driving a car in a drunk state, using weapons, abusing illicit substances, etc.
There are a variety of non-steroidal substances on the market for anabolic steroids. They are used for different purposes:
- as an alternative to anabolic steroids: clenbuterol, human growth hormone, insulin, insulin-like growth factor, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB);
- to reduce the short-term adverse effects of anabolic steroid use: erythropoietin, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), tamoxifen;
- to mask (conceal) the consumption of anabolic steroids;
- diuretics (eg spironolactone, furosemide), which decrease the urinary concentration of anabolic steroids by dilution;
- uricosuric agents (Probenecid) that decrease the excretion of anabolic steroids inurine;
- epitestosterone that reduces the detection of testosterone use by altering the testosterone / epitestosterone ratio.
In the United States, some metabolic precursors of testosterone or nandrolone are marketed in stores as nutritional supplements and are released without a prescription. These include:
- androstenedione,
- androstenediol,
- norandrostenediona,
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which in the body can be converted to testosterone or related derivatives.
It is not known exactly whether they induce muscle mass growth, but significant amounts of steroid supplements cause substantial increases in testosterone levels in the body, producing the same side effects as anabolic steroids.
Most anabolic steroids are derived from testosterone. The human body produces testosterone physiologically: in men in testes, and in women in ovaries or other tissues. Testosterone secreted in physiologically has relatively low potency and is rapidly metabolized by the liver.
Thus, the modification of the testosterone molecule by hydroxylation increases the relative potency (eg nandrolone), the esterification determines the decrease of the release rate in the blood circulation (eg testosterone cypionate), and the conversion of the keto group into the alcoholic hydroxyl group at the C17 position decreases the metabolism by the effect. first hepatic passage, which makes oral administration possible (eg stanozole).
Changes in the structure of testosterone may also affect its metabolism to estrogen or its more potent androgenic metabolite, dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
By different modifications of the chemical structure it was tried to accentuate certain actions, but the anabolic effects could not be completely separated from the androgenic ones. For example, androgen that cannot be flavored (eg dianabol, masterone) cannot be metabolized to estrogen, which leads to diminished estrogen-dependent side effects such as gynecomastia.
Androgen which cannot be reduced (eg oxandrolone, oxymetrolone) cannot be metabolized to dihydrotestosterone and therefore, although they have lower potency, they have a better anabolic / androgenic effect ratio.
Presentation and marketing forms
Anabolic steroids used for medical purposes can be administered in several ways: intramuscular or subcutaneous injection, orally, subcutaneous pellet implantation, or the application of gels, creams or patches on the skin. The same routes of administration are used by people who abuse anabolic steroids, the most commonly used being injectable and oral.
- oral administration - Anadrol (oxymetrol), Oxandrin (oxandrolone), Dianabol (metandrosterone), Winstrol (stanozole);
- injection for injection - Deca-Durabolin (nandrolone decanoate), Durabolin (nandrolone phenpropionate), Depo-Testosterone (testosterone cypionate), Equipoise (boldenon undecylenate) - veterinary product;
- dermal administration - patches - Testoderm (testosterone); gels - Androderm (testosterone); creams - BioEntopic 5% Testosterone Cream;
- subcutaneous administration - implants - Synovex-H implants (testosterone and estradiol);
- nasal administration - spray - Sytenhance Testosterone Spray, Andro Spray, Syn-Test Testosterone Oral Spray.
Consumption modalities
There are several ways of dosing anabolic steroids in order to obtain the maximum effect desired during sports competitions, to reduce the occurrence of adverse effects, to delay the installation of tolerance and to prevent their detection in biological samples.
1. "Cycling" - cyclical administration
This term describes the alternation of the periods of use of anabolic steroids ("on cycle") with periods when either they are not used at all or very small doses are used ("off cycle"). The duration of a cycle is 6 to 12 weeks.
2. "Stacking" - concomitant administration
This term describes the concomitant administration of two or more anabolic steroids. The injectable preparations can be combined with the oral ones, as well as the short-acting steroids and the long-acting steroids. This type of administration is not common in medical practice.
3. "Stacking the Pyramid" - concurrent pyramidal administration
This term is used to describe the concomitant administration of several types of steroids but with the gradual increase of the doses and the gradual addition of other steroids in the first part of the cycle, followed by the gradual decrease of the doses and the gradual removal of the steroids from the administered mixture, in the second part of the cycle. It is believed that this regimen provides the desired optimal effect and decreases the probability of detection of anabolic steroids.
Doses of abused anabolic steroids are a function of the intended effect. For athletes, they vary and depending on the sport practiced: endurance athletes 5-10 mg / day, sprinters 1.5-2 times more, and weightlifters and bodybuilders 10 to 100 times more. In the case of people who abuse steroids but are not athletes, it is found that the doses used by women are lower than those used by men.
Toxic action
Anabolic steroids act at the level of the limbic system, causing increased aggression and hypothalamus, which controls basal metabolism.
The anabolic action consists of:
- improving the use of ingested proteins;
- favoring protein synthesis;
- favoring fat burning;
- increasing the hemoglobin level and the number of red cells;
- favoring calcium retention in bones;
- decreased excretion of sodium, potassium and calcium.
Side effects of anabolic use:
1. Androgenic effects:
- Delibidou changes, decreased fertility, decreased luteinizing hormones and follicle-stimulating hormones;
- Increases sexual aggression and appetite, which sometimes determines aberrant sexual behaviors or criminal beginnings;
- Only in men: impotence in the case of repeated or chronic use, testicular atrophy breast augmentation (gynecomastia), enlargement of the prostate, diminished sperm production, premature balding;
- Only in women: masculinization / hirsutism (excessive growth of hair on face and body) thickening of the voice, enlargement of the clitoris, disturbance of the menstrual cycle (suppression of ovarian function and menstruation), breast reduction, ovarian polycystic syndrome. The masculinizing effects observed in women are not reversible!
- Children: premature closure of the epiphyseal center for the growth of long bones (in adolescents), which leads to stopping the growth; premature puberty in girls.
2. Effects on the cardiovascular system:
- Increased blood pressure, decreased HDL, erythrocytosis, myocardial hypertrophy, arrhythmias, thrombosis.
- Increased risk of atherosclerosis by associating endothelial dysfunction with an atherogenic profile of blood lipids (decreases HDL);
- Decreased (20-27%) HDL-cholesterol and increased diastolic blood pressure after using anabolic steroids over a period of 8 weeks.
Steroid use is associated with hypertension, myocardial ischemia and sudden cardiac death even in consumers younger than 30 years.
3. Hepatic effects (functional / structural):
- Hepatotoxicity (impaired liver function tests) / jaundice;
- "Peliosis hepatis" when blood cysts are formed in the liver which can rupture with the production of internal hemorrhages;
- Neoplasm.
4. Psychological - behavioral effects:
- Oscillations of the mood, aggression, nervousness, irritability, anger, depression, abstinence, addiction (not all anabolic steroids increase irritability and aggression);
- Direct cause of significant changes in the personality profile;
- Significantly decreased self-control of aggression compared to the period prior to consumption.
5. Dermatological effects:
- Acne, alopecia;
- Hair and skin drying;
- Hirsutism;
- Decreased skin elasticity by affecting collagen.
6. Effects on the musculoskeletal system:
- Muscle strain and cramps;
- Increased risk of stretching or muscle breakdown.
7. Affectation of pregnancy:
- Steroids can affect the development of the fetus during pregnancy.
 death rate
The most severe consequences of long-term anabolic steroid abuse are those in the cardiovascular system. The mortality rate among elite weightlifters after leaving the sport was 12.9% compared to 3.1% in the control population.
Causes of weightlifting deaths include:
- suicide,
- myocardial infarction,
- liver coma,
- non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
In conclusion, the consumption of anabolic steroids is associated with an increased risk of violent death caused by impulsive, aggressive behavior or depressive symptoms.
The injectable administration associated with the common use of those may cause:
- hematomas, infections, fibrosis,
- increased risk of contamination with HIV, hepatitis B or C,
- infectious endocarditis, abscesses at the injection site.
Risks of long-term use:
The health risks associated with long-term therapeutic doses of testosterone and chronic superficial doses of anabolic steroids are not fully known. The most severe consequences of long-term consumption of anabolic steroids are those in the cardiovascular system:
- hypertrophy of the left ventricle,
- preventing diastolic filling,
- arrhythmia,
- increased risk of acute myocardial infarction and sudden death.
Chronic consumption of anabolic steroids is an etiological factor for some neoplasms:
- liver tumors,
- renal carcinoma,
- testicular tumors,
- prostate cancer.
The mortality rate is 4-6 times higher for chronic anabolic steroid users than for non-consumers.
Acute intoxication
Clinical manifestations of acute anabolic steroid intoxication are:
- anxiety,
- agitation,
- depression, in rare cases psychotic manifestations.
Chronic intoxication
Chronic Anabolic Steroid Consumers presents:
- Physical appearance: muscle hypertrophy, hirsutism and thickening of the voice in women;
- Skin: acne, baldness and traces of injection in the buttocks, thighs or deltoid muscle;
- Breasts: gynecomastia in men and breast atrophy in women;
- Genito-urinary: testicular atrophy in men and hypertrophy of the clitoris in women.
A significant percentage of people who abuse anabolic steroids become dependent on them, a fact proven by their continued administration despite the physical problems, the negative effects on social relationships, nervousness and irritability.
Prolonged anabolic steroids produce physical and mental dependence. With each steroid cycle started higher doses are given and the physical effort is increased.
Some studies have shown an euphorizing effect of anabolic steroids, lower than that produced by cocaine or opioids.
Physical dependence occurs once the body adapts to the synthetic drug, at which point normal testosterone production is discontinued. When anabolic administration is discontinued, a period of withdrawal of the natural hormone manifested by the following symptoms occurs:
- severe depression,
- fatigue,
- anxiety,
- sexual impotence and lack of self-respect,
- In extremely rare cases, psychotic reactions may occur.
To lessen these ailments, steroid users take medications that change mood, mood or administer more steroids.
Animal studies (hamsters) have shown that individuals with low endogenous testosterone levels (women, adolescents, elderly) are less prone to anabolic steroid abuse, and individuals who engage in intense physical activity (which promotes increased endogenous testosterone secretion). are more likely to develop androgen dependence.
Abstinence syndrome is manifested by the following symptoms:
- changes of disposition,
- fatigue,
- nervousness with violent behavior,
- agitation and depression,
- loss of appetite and desire to continue steroid administration.
The most dangerous symptom of withdrawal is depression, as it sometimes leads to suicide attempts. Some of the untreated depressive symptoms may persist for up to one year or even longer after stopping consumption.
Treatment of chronic intoxication
Current knowledge in this area is based on the experience of a small number of doctors who have treated steroid-abstinent patients.
It has been found that "supportive therapy" may be sufficient in some cases.
Patients are informed about the symptoms they experience during the withdrawal period and their suicidal intentions are evaluated. In case of severe or prolonged symptoms, outpatient treatment or hospitalization is required.
The drugs used rebalance the hormonal system. Also used is the symptomatic medication: antidepressants for the treatment of depression and analgesics for the treatment of headaches, muscle and joint pain.In some cases, behavioral therapy may also be useful.
Attempts to prevent anabolic steroid abuse consist of campaigns to inform students and students about adverse effects and to detect consumption through laboratory tests.
To be effective, educational programs for young people must be credible, balanced, present both the risks and the benefits of anabolic steroids. Otherwise, if only the adverse effects are present in the programs, they do not convince the young people, leaving them with the impression that they personally cannot be affected.