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Oxandrin Side Effects

Generic name: oxandrolone

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Nov 17, 2023.

Note: This document contains side effect information about oxandrolone. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Oxandrin.

Applies to oxandrolone: oral tablets.


    Peliosis Hepatis
  • Peliosis hepatis, a condition in which the liver contains blood-filled cysts, reported with androgen therapy.1 4 30 31 34 May present with minimal hepatic dysfunction,1 4 34 or effects may not be apparent until complicated by life-threatening liver failure or rupture of the cysts resulting in intra-abdominal hemorrhage.1 4 5 7 31 34 (See Hepatic Effects under Cautions.)

  • Discontinuance of androgen therapy usually results in resolution of liver lesions.1 4 32 34

    Hepatic Adenoma and Carcinoma
  • Liver cell tumors reported with androgen therapy.1 4 5 7 30 31 34 Tumors are usually benign and androgen dependent; hepatocellular carcinoma, sometimes fatal, also reported.1 4 5 7 34

  • Liver cell tumors associated with androgens are more vascular than other hepatic tumors; hepatic effects may not be apparent until complicated by life-threatening intra-abdominal hemorrhage.1 4 5 34

  • Discontinuance of androgen therapy often but not always results in regression or cessation of progression of the tumor.1 4 5 34

    Lipid Abnormalities
  • May markedly alter serum lipoprotein concentrations; decreased HDL- and increased LDL-cholesterol reported with androgen therapy.1 4 30 31 34 Consider increased risk of cardiovascular disease (e.g., atherosclerosis and CAD).1 4 31 34 (See Lipid Abnormalities under Cautions.)

Side effects include:

Elevated aminotransferases (ALT, AST), lipid abnormalities (e.g., decreased HDL cholesterol concentrations).

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to oxandrolone: oral tablet.


Frequency not reported: Hirsutism and male pattern baldness in females, acne (especially in females and prepubertal males), changes in skin color[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Nausea, vomiting[Ref]


Frequency not reported:

-Prepubertal Males: Phallic enlargement and increased frequency or persistence of erections

-Postpubertal Males: Inhibition of testicular function, testicular atrophy and oligospermia, impotence, chronic priapism, epididymitis, and bladder irritability

-Females: Clitoral enlargement, menstrual irregularities[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Bleeding in patients on concomitant anticoagulant therapy[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Cholestatic jaundice with, rarely, hepatic necrosis and death; hepatocellular neoplasms and peliosis hepatis with long-term therapy; reversible changes in liver function tests also occur including increased bromsulfophthalein (BSP) retention, changes in alkaline phosphatase and increases in serum bilirubin, aspartate aminotransferase (AST, SGOT) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT, SGPT).[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Premature closure of epiphyses in children, ankle swelling[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Edema, retention of serum electrolytes (sodium chloride, potassium, phosphate, calcium); decreased glucose tolerance; increased creatinine excretion; increased serum levels of creatinine phosphokinase[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Gynecomastia, hepatic neoplasms and hepatocellular carcinomas following prolonged therapy with large doses of anabolic steroids[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Virilization of female patients including deepening voice, hirsutism, acne, clitoromegaly (not reversible), and menstrual abnormalities.[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Habituation, excitation, insomnia, depression, libido changes[Ref]


1. Product Information. Oxandrin (oxandrolone). Bio-Tech. 2001;PROD.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.