ease. Other unwanted effects have included nausea, vomiting, chills, acne, and painful testicles. Case reports have noted severe changes in several persons' ability to handle blood sugar levels. Another case report noted mental confusion that developed in a patient receiving oxymetholone and that continued for weeks after the therapy stopped.

Abuse factors. Some athletes use the compound with the hope it will improve their sports performance. A case report attributed rupture of the triceps tendon to a regimen of oxymetholone, nandrolone, and testosterone, although analysts have noted that a nonanabolic steroid called cortisone may have promoted the injury. Another case report told of a 20-year-old athlete developing persistent balance problems after taking oxymetholone and two other steroids; investigators of that case felt that steroids were a likely cause, given their ability to promote brain damage (stroke) and mental difficulties (mood and thinking). A case report notes manic activity in a person using oxymetholone. Another case report notes an even-tempered person who became rageful and violent after beginning a regimen of oxymetholone. Researchers tested one group of athletes who were using that compound and other steroids, a second group composed of former users, and a third group that had never used these drugs. Compared to the other groups, current users perceived themselves as more antagonistic, but investigators found only slight psychological differences among the groups. Chickenpox is a childhood disease that adults can suffer, and a bodybuilder who used oxymetholone and other anabolic steroids came down with a severe case requiring extended hospitalization; the case report did not blame the steroids but considered his drug use important enough to emphasize.

A case report speaks of oxymetholone "dependency" but in the context of persons needing the drug to maintain good health, not dependency in the traditional terminology of drug abuse. Another case report, however, does describe dependence in a bodybuilder who was taking oxymetholone and other anabolic steroids. A noteworthy aspect of this case was the person's sudden development of opiate withdrawal symptoms when he received a drug that provokes opiate withdrawal.

Drug interactions. Not enough scientific information to report, although anabolic steroids as a drug class tend to boost effects from medicines intended to reduce blood clotting.

Cancer. Oxymetholone gives negative results in assorted laboratory tests designed to detect cell mutations that may lead to cancer and gives mixed results in tests involving animals dosed on the substance. Oxymetholone is suspected of causing human cancer, with liver cancer a particular risk. Scientists have been unsure about any connection between the substance and human cancer, but the high level of suspicion is illustrated by numerous published case reports noting development of cancer by patients using oxymeth-olone.

Pregnancy. The drug may reduce fertility. In rat experiments the substance masculinized female fetuses even more than methyltestosterone. Whether ox-ymetholone passes into human milk is uncertain, but nursing mothers are advised to avoid the substance.

Additional scientific information may be found in:


Alexanian, R., and J. Nadell. "Oxymetholone Treatment for Sickle Cell Anemia." Blood 45 (1975): 769-77.

Barker, S. "Oxymethalone and Aggression." British Journal of Psychiatry 151 (1987): 564.

Bond, A.J., P.Y. Choi, and H.G. Pope, Jr. "Assessment of Attentional Bias and Mood in Users and Non-Users of Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids." Drug and Alcohol Dependence 37 (1995): 241-45.

Hengge, U.R., et al. "Oxymetholone Promotes Weight Gain in Patients with Advanced Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-1) Infection." British Journal of Nutrition 75 (1996): 129-38.

Keele, D.K., and J.W. Worley. "Study of an Anabolic Steroid: Certain Effects of Oxymetholone on Small Children." American Journal of Diseases of Children 113 (1967): 422-30.

Murchison, L. "Uses and Abuses of Anabolic Steroids." Prescribers' Journal 26 (1986): 129-35.

"Oxymetholone." IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Man: Some Miscellaneous Pharmaceutical Substances 13 (1977): 131-39.

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