A very typical case of severe cholestasis due to anabolic steroid use. Because the steroids were being used without medical supervision, the dose and actual duration of use of each preparation was unclear, but cholestasis usually arises within 4 to 12 weeks of starting a C-17 alkylated androgenic steroid. The jaundice can be severe and prolonged and accompanied by severe pruritus and marked weight loss. The serum enzymes are typically minimally elevated except for a short period immediately after stopping therapy. The pattern of enzyme elevations can be hepatocellular, cholestatic or mixed. Liver biopsy shows a “bland” cholestasis with minimal inflammation and hepatocellular necrosis. Ma Huang has also been implicated in cases of drug induced liver injury, but is associated with an acute hepatocellular pattern of injury.
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.