The immediate effects of AAS in the brain are mediated by their binding to androgen (male sex hormone) and estrogen (female sex hormone) receptors on the surface of a cell. This AAS–receptor complex can then shuttle into the cell nucleus to influence patterns of gene expression. Because of this, the acute effects of AAS in the brain are substantially different from those of other drugs of abuse. The most important difference is that AAS are not euphorigenic, meaning they do not trigger rapid increases in the neurotransmitter dopamine , which is responsible for the “high” that often drives substance abuse behaviors. However, long-term use of AAS can eventually have an impact on some of the same brain pathways and chemicals—such as dopamine, serotonin, and opioid systems—that are affected by other drugs of abuse. Considering the combined effect of their complex direct and indirect actions, it is not surprising that AAS can affect mood and behavior in significant ways.
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