Oxymetholone Side Effects
For the Consumer
Applies to oxymetholone: oral tablet
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction while taking oxymetholone: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Long-term use of oxymetholone can cause liver tumors or blood-filled cysts in your liver or spleen. Call your doctor at once if you have:
nausea, upper stomach pain;
rapid weight gain, especially in your face and midsection;
loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools; or
jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Also call your doctor at once if you have:
painful or difficult urination;
increased interest in sex, painful or ongoing erection of the penis;
loss of interest in sex, impotence, trouble having an orgasm, decreased amount of semen when you ejaculate;
easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums), any bleeding that will not stop;
painful swelling in your breasts;
changes in skin color; or
shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling in your hands or feet.
Women receiving oxymetholone may develop male features, which could be irreversible if treatment is continued. If you are a woman taking oxymetholone, tell your doctor right away if you have:
hoarse or deepened voice;
increased facial hair, hair growth on the chest;
male pattern baldness;
changes in your menstrual periods; or
increased or decreased interest in sex.
Common side effects in both men and women may include:
male pattern baldness;
breast swelling or tenderness (in men or women);
feeling restless or excited;
sleep problems (insomnia); or
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to oxymetholone: oral tablet
Cardiovascular side effects have included fluid retention. Edema, with and without congestive heart failure, has occurred during anabolic steroid therapy.[Ref]
Genitourinary effects have included oligospermia and decreased ejaculatory volume. Elderly male patients may experience prostatic enlargement resulting in urinary obstruction. Priapism and excessive stimulation may develop. Female patients may experience virilization, including deepening voice, hirsutism, acne, clitomegaly (not reversible), and menstrual abnormalities. Discontinuation of anabolic steroids at signs of mild virilization may prevent irreversible virilization. Alterations in libido may occur (increased/decreased).[Ref]
Hepatic tumors associated with anabolic steroid use are more vascular than other hepatic tumors and may remain silent until the development of life-threatening abdominal hemorrhage. Peliosis hepatitis may present as mild liver dysfunction, but has resulted in liver failure.[Ref]
Hepatic side effects have included life-threatening peliosis hepatitis and hepatic abnormalities such as hepatic neoplasms and hepatocellular carcinomas following prolonged therapy with high doses of anabolic steroids. Tumor regression did not occur in all cases following medication withdrawal. Cholestatic hepatitis, jaundice, and abnormal liver function tests can occur at relatively low dosages.[Ref]
Other side effects have included female patients experiencing virilization including deepening voice, hirsutism, acne, clitomegaly (not reversible), and menstrual abnormalities. Discontinuation of anabolic steroids at signs of mild virilization may prevent irreversible virilization.[Ref]
Musculoskeletal side effects have included closure of the epiphyseal growth centers by termination of linear bone growth. Appropriate monitoring of bone age is recommended during use in prepubertal patients.[Ref]
Oncologic side effects have included hepatic neoplasms and hepatocellular carcinomas following prolonged therapy with large doses of anabolic steroids[Ref]
Hematologic side effects have included alterations in clotting factors II, V, VII and X , prolonged prothrombin time (PT), and increased red cell production. Leukemia has been reported rarely during oxymetholone therapy in patients with aplastic anemia. A causal relationship has not been established and leukemia has been observed in patients with aplastic anemia who were not treated with oxymetholone.[Ref]
Endocrine side effects have included inhibition of endogenous testosterone release by means of feedback inhibition of pituitary luteinizing hormone (LH). Large doses of exogenous anabolic steroids may suppress spermatogenesis through inhibition of pituitary follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). The androgenic activity of anabolic steroids may decrease levels of thyroxin-binding globulin and result in decreased total T4 serum levels and increased resin uptake of T3 and T4. Free thyroid hormone levels remain unchanged and there is no clinical evidence of thyroid dysfunction.[Ref]
Metabolic side effects have included osteolytic-induced hypercalcemia in immobilized patients or those with metastatic breast disease. Anabolic steroids affect electrolyte balance, nitrogen retention, and urinary calcium excretion. Edema, with and without congestive heart failure, has occurred. Decreased glucose tolerance requiring adjustments in hyperglycemic control has been noted in diabetic patients. Significant increases in low density lipoproteins (LDL) and decreases in high density lipoproteins (HDL) have occurred.[Ref]
Renal side effects have included retention of nitrogen, sodium, potassium, chloride, water and phosphorus, and decreased urinary excretion of calcium.[Ref]
Gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.[Ref]
Psychiatric side effects have included habituation, excitation, insomnia, depression, and libido changes.[Ref]
Dermatologic side effects have frequently included acne. The greatest incidence of occurrence has been in women and prepubertal males.[Ref]
1. "Product Information. Anadrol (oxymetholone)" Unimed Pharmaceuticals, Buffalo Grove, IL.
2. Reeves RD, Morris MD, Barbour GL "Hyperlipidemia due to oxymetholone therapy. Occurrence in a long-term hemodialysis patient." JAMA 236 (1976): 469-72
3. Sheffer AL, Fearon DT, Austen KF "Clinical and biochemical effects of impeded androgen (oxymetholone) therapy of hereditary angioedema." J Allergy Clin Immunol 64 (1979): 275-80
4. Barton GM, Gillam PM, Longridge RG, Freeman PR "Trial of an anabolic steroid (oxymetholone) in atherosclerosis with hyperlipoproteinaemia." Atherosclerosis 18 (1973): 505-7
5. Arnold GL, Kaplan MM "Peliosis hepatis due to oxymetholone--a clinically benign disorder." Am J Gastroenterol 71 (1979): 213-6
6. McCredie KB "Oxymetholone in refractory anaemia." Br J Haematol 17 (1969): 265-73
7. Young GP, Bhathal PS, Sullivan JR, Wall AJ, Fone DJ, Hurley TH "Fatal hepatic coma complicating oxymetholone therapy in multiple myeloma." Aust N Z J Med 7 (1977): 47-51
8. Hirose H, Ohishi A, Nakamura H, Sugiura H, Umezawa A, Hosoda Y "Fatal splenic rupture in anabolic steroid-induced peliosis in a patient with myelodysplastic syndrome." Br J Haematol 78 (1991): 128-9
9. Shapiro P, Ikeda RM, Ruebner BH, Connors MH, Halsted CC, Abildgaard CF "Multiple hepatic tumors and peliosis hepatis in Fanconi's anemia treated with androgens." Am J Dis Child 131 (1977): 1104-6
10. Sheffer AL, Fearon DT, Austen KF "Clinical and biochemical effects of stanozolol therapy for hereditary angioedema." J Allergy Clin Immunol 68 (1981): 181-7
11. Obeid DA, Hill FG, Harnden D, Mann JR, Wood BS "Fanconi anemia. Oxymetholone hepatic tumors, and chromosome aberrations associated with leukemic transition." Cancer 46 (1980): 1401-4
12. McDonald EC, Speicher CE "Peliosis hepatis associated with administration of oxymetholone." JAMA 240 (1978): 243-4
13. Ekert H, Muntz RH, Colebatch JH "Decreased anticoagulant tolerance with oxymetholone." Lancet 2 (1971): 609-10
It is possible that some side effects of oxymetholone may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.
More about oxymetholone
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- Drug class: androgens and anabolic steroids
Other brands: Anadrol-50
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