Awareness and educational efforts are working to help prevent anabolic steroid abuse in schools and communities. The Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids (ATLAS) and the Athletes Targeting Healthy Exercise and Nutrition Alternatives (ATHENA) programs, funded by the NIDA, and supported by the Oregon Health & Science University programs is teaching athletes that they do not need steroids to build powerful muscles and improve athletic performance. These programs provide weight-training and nutrition alternatives, increase healthy behaviors, less likelihood to try steroids, and less likelihood to engage in other dangerous behaviors such as drinking and driving, use of marijuana and alcohol , and and improved body image. Bother Congress and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration endorsed these model prevention programs. 4
Abuse of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) has been linked to a variety of different cardiovascular side effects. In case reports, acute myocardial infarction is the most common event presented, but other adverse cardiovascular effects such as left ventricular hypertrophy, reduced left ventricular function, arterial thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and several cases of sudden cardiac death have also been reported. However, to date there are no prospective, randomized, interventional studies on the long-term cardiovascular effects of abuse of AAS. In this review we have studied the relevant literature regarding several risk factors for cardiovascular disease where the effects of AAS have been scrutinized:(1) Echocardiographic studies show that supraphysiologic doses of AAS lead to both morphologic and functional changes of the heart. These include a tendency to produce myocardial hypertrophy (Fig. 3), a possible increase of heart chamber diameters, unequivocal alterations of diastolic function and ventricular relaxation, and most likely a subclinically compromised left ventricular contractile function. (2) AAS induce a mild, but transient increase of blood pressure. However, the clinical significance of this effect remains modest. (3) Furthermore, AAS confer an enhanced pro-thrombotic state, most prominently through an activation of platelet aggregability. The concomitant effects on the humoral coagulation cascade are more complex and include activation of both pro-coagulatory and fibrinolytic pathways. (4) Users of AAS often demonstrate unfavorable measurements of vascular reactivity involving endothelial-dependent or endothelial-independent vasodilatation. A degree of reversibility seems to be consistent, though. (5) There is a comprehensive body of evidence documenting that AAS induce various alterations of lipid metabolism. The most prominent changes are concomitant elevations of LDL and decreases of HDL, effects that increase the risk of coronary artery disease. And finally, (6) the use of AAS appears to confer an increased risk of life-threatening arrhythmia leading to sudden death, although the underlying mechanisms are still far from being elucidated. Taken together, various lines of evidence involving a variety of pathophysiologic mechanisms suggest an increased risk for cardiovascular disease in users of anabolic androgenic steroids.
Acne is often present. Acne conglobata is a particularly severe form of acne that can develop during steroid abuse or even after the drug has been discontinued. Infections are a common side effect of steroid abuse because of needle sharing and unsanitary techniques used when injecting the drugs into the skin. These are similar risks to IV drug abusers with increased potential to acquire blood-borne infections such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS . Skin abscesses may occur at injection sites and may spread to other organs of the body. Endocarditis or an infection of the heart valves is not uncommon.