Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are misused to a high extent in sports by athletes to improve their physical performance. Sports federations consider the use of these drugs in sports as doping. The misuse of AAS is controlled by detection of the parent AAS (when excreted into urine) and (or) their metabolites in urine of athletes. I present a review of the metabolism of AAS. Testosterone is the principal androgenic steroid and its metabolism is compared with that of AAS. The review is divided into two parts: the general metabolism of AAS, which is separated into phase I and phase II metabolism and includes a systematic discussion of metabolic changes in the steroid molecule according to the regions (A-D rings), and the specific metabolism of AAS, which presents the metabolism of 26 AAS in humans.
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
The gains made by athletes in uncontrolled observations have been much more impressive. Weight gains of thirty or forty pounds, coupled with thirty percent increases in strength, are not unusual. Such case studies lack credibility because of the absence of scientific controls. However, it would be foolish to completely disregard such observations because the "subjects" have been highly trained and motivated see the articles on pharmacology of sport and sports medicine in the countries of the former Soviet Union for more information on anabolic steroids.