Module Two - How are they taken

Module two will cover the various ways to take steroids; from injections to pill form, this module will briefly touch on each of them.

Supervisor's Guide to Understanding Anabolic Androgenic Steroids

AAS can be taken orally in pill form, by injection, as a skin patch or cream, or sometimes by placing them between the cheek and gum. AAS stimulate the formation of muscle tissue and are known to cause enlargement of muscle fibers. It is widely understood that testosterone (the major natural male AAS hormone in normal, healthy men) stimulates an increase in fat-free muscle mass while at the same time decreasing fat. Doses of AAS that exceed normal production rate of testosterone can amplify this effect., resulting in above normal gains in lean muscle mass and strength. People abusing these drugs will likely be taking pills and / or injecting them. Most people who abuse these drugs will 'cycle' on and off the drugs for periods of weeks at a time. They generally do not take them constantly due to adverse side effects. Abusers also tend to 'stack' these drugs, i.e. they use more than one AAS or they take other drugs that they feel will enhance the effects such as insulin or Human Growth Hormone.

Illegitimate Use:

Abusers of AAS often follow a particular pattern of use, as discovered in one study of AAS users:

  • Many users reported taking a weekly dose in excess of (the equivalent of) 1,000 mg of testosterone For comparison, adult human testicles normally produce 5-10 mg of testosterone per day - generally less than 100 mg/week.
  • Most AAS users reported self administering by injecting the drug directly into their muscles.
  • Some studies reveal that approximately 25 percent of those who inject AAS share needles or vials, increasing the risk of HIV infection, viral hepatitis, or other infections.
  • Over 95 percent of AAS users reported self-administering multiple substances, with 25 percent taking growth hormone and/or insulin in addition to AAS.
  • Users have been found to move on to illegal drugs other than athletic performance enhancers.
  • Nearly 100 percent of AAS users reported noticeable side effects-but most users claim that these effects are mild and do not deter them from continuing to use AAS.
  • Users often become fixated on their muscularity and are reluctant to stop using AAS for fear that they will get smaller again.

General Medical Effects of Use:

Anabolic steroids can cause temporary or permanent medical problems. Some known medical problems associated with AAS use are:

  • Decreased sperm production
  • Abscess at the site of injection
  • Increased or even severe acne
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased "bad" (LDL) and lower "good" (HDL) cholesterol, with attendant increased risk of heart attack
  • Thickening of the wall of the heart (especially in the left ventricle)
  • Increased or decreased sex drive (libido)
  • Increased appetite
  • Liver disease, especially with AAS taken orally (infrequent)
  • Death from several causes, including suicide, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries leading to heart attacks or strokes), and cardiac complications
  • HIV and similar risk issues associated with the sharing of needles or the use of non-sterile needles

Points of Interest

  • To "Stack" is the use of more than one AAS
  • To "Cycle" is to not use them constantly but to stagger their usage.

Medical Effects of its Use

  • Increased or even severe acne
  • Increased "bad" (LDL) and lower "good" (HDL) cholesterol, with attendant increased risk of heart attack
  • Thickening of the wall of the heart (especially in the left ventricle)
  • Increased appetite
  • Death from several causes, including suicide, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries leading to heart attacks or strokes), and cardiac applications