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      Multi-organ damage induced by anabolic steroid supplements: a case report and literature review

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          The use of anabolic supplements and other related drugs for body building and to enhance athletic performance is nowadays widespread and acutely pervasive all around the world. This alarming increase in the use of anabolic and amino acid supplements has been linked to a diverse array of pathologies. As previously reported, the abuse of androgenic steroids is not without severe physiological, psychiatric and physical costs. The case we report here describes multi-organ damage resulting from the abuse and uncontrolled use of anabolic steroid supplements, mainly testosterone.

          Case presentation

          A 24-year-old white man presented with abdominal pain concomitant with nausea and vomiting. Laboratory analysis revealed hypercalcemia, elevated liver enzymes and high levels of amylase, lipase and creatine protein kinase.


          Amino acid as well as anabolic supplements may lead to abnormal functioning of many organs, which could be fatal in some instances. This mandates worldwide and concerted efforts to educate the public, especially the youth, about the dangers of these increasingly abused drugs.

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          Most cited references 15

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          Selected herbals and human exercise performance.

           L Bucci (2000)
          Herbs have been used throughout history to enhance physical performance, but scientific scrutiny with controlled clinical trials has only recently been used to study such effects. The following herbs are currently used to enhance physical performance regardless of scientific evidence of effect: Chinese, Korean, and American ginsengs; Siberian ginseng, mahuang or Chinese ephedra; ashwagandha; rhodiola; yohimbe; CORDYCEPS: fungus, shilajit or mummio; smilax; wild oats; Muira puama; suma (ecdysterone); Tribulus terrestris; saw palmetto berries; beta-sitosterol and other related sterols; and wild yams (diosgenin). Controlled studies of Asian ginsengs found improvements in exercise performance when most of the following conditions were true: use of standardized root extracts, study duration (>8 wk, daily dose >1 g dried root or equivalent, large number of subjects, and older subjects. Improvements in muscular strength, maximal oxygen uptake, work capacity, fuel homeostasis, serum lactate, heart rate, visual and auditory reaction times, alertness, and psychomotor skills have also been repeatedly documented. Siberian ginseng has shown mixed results. Mahuang, ephedrine, and related alkaloids have not benefited physical performance except when combined with caffeine. Other herbs remain virtually untested. Future research on ergogenic effects of herbs should consider identity and amount of substance or presumed active ingredients administered, dose response, duration of test period, proper experimental controls, measurement of psychological and physiologic parameters (including antioxidant actions), and measurements of performance pertinent to intended uses.
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            Side effects of anabolic androgenic steroids abuse.

            Long-term side effects of high doses of anabolic androgenic steroids self-administration were evaluated in this study. Twenty male bodybuilders, voluntarily starting steroid self-administration, were followed every 6 months over 2 years. Physical examination, haematological, metabolic and endocrine variables, semen analysis, hepatic and prostate ultrasound and echocardiographic evaluations were performed. LH values (baseline 3.43 +/- 1.75) were suppressed at 18 (1.98 +/- 1.99) (p = 0.026) and 24 (2.43 +/- 2.17) (p = 0.026), and FSH (3.95 +/- 2.01) at 6 (3.01 +/- 2.16) (p = 0.031), 12 (2.45 +/- 2.54) (p = 0.029), 18 (2.02 +/- 2.29) (p = 0.032) and 24 (3.42 +/- 2.64) (p = 0.032) months and SHBG (34.11 +/- 10.88) values significantly lowered at 12 (24.81 +/- 12.49) (p < 0.05), 18 (21.28 +/- 11.15) (p < 0.01), 24 months (25.42 +/- 11.16) (p < 0.01). A significant decrease in spermatozoa count (p < 0.01), and fertility index (p = 0.01) occurred. HDL-cholesterol (baseline 56.94 +/- 13.54) was reduced at 18 (41.86 +/- 14.17) (p < 0.01) and 24 (43.82 +/- 18.67) (p < 0.05) months and Apo A-1 at 12 (p < 0.001), 18 (p = 0.05) and 24 (p = 0.05) months. The most important long-term adverse effects were lower fertility and the impairment of lipid profile associated with an increased cardiovascular risk.
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              Anabolic steroid abuse: psychiatric and physical costs.

              The psychiatric effects of anabolic-androgenic steroids (i.e., testosterone and its derivatives) have been less well studied than their physical effects but are reported to include depression, mania, psychosis, and aggression. Dependence can also occur, with withdrawal involving psychiatric and physical symptoms. Adverse effects of steroid abuse should be managed by discontinuing the drugs-by tapering if necessary-and by treating the symptoms.

                Author and article information

                J Med Case Reports
                Journal of Medical Case Reports
                BioMed Central
                31 October 2008
                : 2
                : 340
                [1 ]Department of Internal Medicine, Makassed General Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon
                [2 ]Department of Human Morphology, Faculty of Public Health, Lebanese University, Zahle, Lebanon
                [3 ]Cellular and Molecular Signaling Research Group, Departments of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Lebanese International University, Beirut, Lebanon
                [4 ]Department of Nutrition and Dietetic, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Lebanese International University, Beirut, Lebanon
                [5 ]Clinical Laboratory, Faculty of Public Health, Lebanese University, Zahle, Lebanon
                [6 ]Lebanese School of Social Formation: Community Health Program, Saint-Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon
                [7 ]Department of Biology, College of Science, United Arab Emirates University, Al-Ain, UAE
                Copyright © 2008 Samaha et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Case Report



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