AFFECTS FROM STEROID ABUSE ARE REVERSIBLE

Urhausen, A., Torsten, A., & Wilfried, K. (2003). Reversibility of the effects on blood cells, lipids, liver function, and hormones in former anabolic-androgenic steroid abusers. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 84, 369-375.

"BACKGROUND: In contrast to the acute effects of anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) abuse, the long-term risk profile of former long-term abusers (ExA) is less clear. METHODS: Blood parameters of 32 male bodybuilders and powerlifters were studied. Fifteen ExA had not been abusing AAS for at least 12-43 months on average (mean dosage 700 mg for 26 weeks per year over 9 years), 17 athletes (A) were still abusing AAS (750 mg for 33 weeks per 8 years). FINDINGS: Hemoglobin (+5%), leucocytes (+33%) and platelets (+38%) were significantly higher in A. Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were higher, cholinesterase activity (CHE) lower in A (6555, 3827 and 37191528U/l) compared to ExA (2410, 1811 and 6345975U/l; each P<0.001) with normal values for gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (gamma-GT) and bilirubin. ALT, AST and CHE correlated significantly with the extent (duration and weekly dosage, expressed as a point score) of AAS abuse in A (r=0.68, 0.57 and -0.62; each P<0.01). Total and LDL-cholesterol were similar, HDL-cholesterol was distinctly lower in A than in ExA (1711 and 4311 mg/dl; P<0.001) and correlated negatively with the extent of AAS abuse (r=-0.50; P<0.05). Testosterone and estradiol were significantly higher, while LH, FSH and the sexual-hormone-binding (SHB) protein were lower in A than in ExA (each P<0.001). Two ExA had testosterone levels below the normal range. INTERPRETATION: The alterations in cell counts, HDL-cholesterol, liver function and most hormones of the pituitary-testicular axis induced by a long-term abuse of AAS were reversible after stopping the medication for over 1 year. In some ExA, an increased ALT activity and a depressed testosterone synthesis were found".

Implication. Alterations in bodily function associated with chronic abusive steroid use reverse within a year of cessation.

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