Ask the Doc: Is it safe to take anabolic steroids?

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Is it safe to take anabolic steroids?


It is safe to take steroids if they have been prescribed by a doctor for treatment of a medical condition. In this situation, your doctor will monitor your health to make sure the treatment is effective, and to check that unwanted side effects are avoided. Under any other circumstances, the safety of androgenic steroids cannot be guaranteed.

Steroids are only legal if they are prescribed by a doctor for a valid medical reason. It is illegal to make, possess, or use anabolic steroids, or provide them to someone else.

Steroids can make you irritable, nervous, aggressive, reckless, depressed and suicidal.

Steroids can cause serious health problems including, high blood pressure, heart failure, liver cancer, kidney failure, infertility and erectile dysfunction. Other effects of steroids include acne, stretch marks, balding, sweating, gynaecomastia and low libido.

People who use steroids can become dependent upon them, and experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using them. Some of the unwanted effects of steroids can take months to go away.

Buying steroids over the internet, from someone at your gym, or any other unregulated source is dangerous because you can’t be sure that what you’re getting is what you think it is.

Another danger of steroid use is the possibility of infection or nerve damage from injecting.

If you feel like steroids are necessary to help you achieve your fitness or appearance goals, you should talk to your doctor. If you are already using steroids, your doctor can help you to stop using them safely. 

A/Prof Tim Moss

Tim Moss

Biomedical research scientist

Associate Professor Tim Moss has PhD in physiology and more than 20 years’ experience as a biomedical research scientist. Tim stepped away from his successful academic career at the end of 2019, to apply his skills in turning complicated scientific and medical knowledge into information that all people can use to improve their health and wellbeing. Tim has written for and Scientific American’s Observations blog, which is far more interesting than his authorship of over 150 academic publications. He has studied science communication at the Alan Alda Centre for Communicating Science in New York, and at the Department of Biological Engineering Communication Lab at MIT in Boston.


Anabolic steroids
Steroid use
Substance use

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