Steroids: Therapeutic use

Last modified: Saturday, 20. June 2009 - 3:36 pm

Physicians most commonly prescribe AASs for hypogonadism or testosterone deficiency, a condition where boys and men produce deficient levels of testosterone. AAS has also been prescribed to treat body-wasting diseases such as advanced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, when the loss of lean body mass is common. Additionally, men with the advanced disease often have low testosterone levels. Studies have shown that HIV patients given AASs experience significant increases in muscle and lean body mass, as well as improved quality of life, appearance, and well-being. AASs also increase muscle in other muscle-wasting conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), severe burn injuries, alcoholic hepatitis, and most recently in patients with chronic renal failure. The loss of lean body mass is associated with a higher death rate in many of these conditions. Also, AASs have been medically used in bone marrow failure syndromes, in a rare skin condition called hereditary angioedema, and certain forms of anemia and impotence. In women, AASs have been used in advanced breast cancer, endometriosis, a condition of abnormal uterine tissue growth, and have been combined with female hormones to treat menopausal symptoms. While all these uses are uncommon, AASs do provide a valuable treatment option.
Use of AASs as a therapy for cardiovascular disease, particularly to increase skeletal muscle strength in patients who have congestive heart failure, a condition in which fluid congestion occurs as a result of heart failure, is also being studied. AASs have been proposed for treatment in the cachexia, or wasting that accompanies certain cancers, as well.

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