Module 2: Basic Pharmacology of Controlled Drugs and Substances

Lesson 1

Anabolic steroids – Precautions

In adolescent and young males who use excessive doses (in some cases equivalent to 100 – 200 mg testosterone weekly), anabolic steroids may cause male pattern baldness, shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, increase risk of tumour of the testicles and prostate, and enlargement of breasts. Both sexes may experience liver damage and cancer, acne, increased chance of damage to joints, jaundice, swelling of feet and ankles, increased blood pressure, and cardiac problems such as increased risk of heart attack and enlarged heart. Anabolic steroids are particularly dangerous for adolescents because they may stunt growth. Anabolic steroids can result in serious psychological effects, including euphoria, anxiety, irritability and aggression (“roid” rage), insomnia, depression, mania and hypomania, and psychosis (Canadian Pharmacists Association, 2014). Some studies point to long-term steroid users experiencing symptoms of dependence such as cravings, difficulty in stopping use ,and withdrawal symptoms but there is no evidence of increased tolerance (Canadian Pharmacists Association, 2014).


  • Canadian Pharmacists Association. (2014). E-Therapeutics. Ottawa: Author.