Side Effects of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids: Pathological Findings and Structure–Activity Relationships

  • Andreas Büttner
  • Detlef Thieme
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 195)


Side effects of anabolic steroids with relevance in forensic medicine are mainly due to life-threatening health risks with potential fatal outcome and cases of uncertain limitations of criminal liability after steroid administration. Both problems are typically associated with long-term abuse and excessive overdose of anabolic steroids. Side effects may be due to direct genomic or nongenomic activities (myotrophic, hepatotoxic), can result from down-regulation of endogenous biosynthesis (antiandrogenic) or be indirect consequence of steroid biotransformation (estrogenic).

Logically, there are no systematic clinical studies available and the number of causally determined fatalities is fairly limited. The following compilation reviews typical abundant observations in cases where nonnatural deaths (mostly liver failure and sudden cardiac death) were concurrent with steroid abuse. Moreover, frequent associations between structural characteristics and typical side effects are summarized.


Side effects Heart Liver Arteriosclerosis Psychiatry 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Büttner
    • 1
  • Detlef Thieme
  1. 1.Institute of Legal MedicineRostockGermany

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