Can Doctors Prescibe Steroids Legally?

Can doctors prescibe you steroids like testosterone or other mass and strength building steroids or not?

Come on, Bill, you’ve been here long enough to know some of the ground rules. Could you give us some clue why the answer isn’t obvious to you?

(To me, the answer is obviously “yes they can”, because all the articles i’ve seen about steroids talk about the ethics of unfair athletic advantage, and/or the tradeoff of short-term benefits vs long-term dangers, but i’ve never heard of anyone arrested for illegal steroid trafficking.)

Oh, and IIUC, testosterone is a hormone, not a steroid. (unless hormones are steroids…)

I get a steroid shot whenever I have a poison ivy rash because I am terribly horribly disgustingly nausiatingly allergic. So I would say yes, but I don’t know if those are the same steroids that get athletes expelled from the olympics.

OK, let’s get to the heart of the matter. Yes, a doctor can prescribe steroids, hormones, whatever. But no, a doctor isn’t going to prescribe you steroids just so you can look buff at your high-school reunion.

You want to look buff? Eat less and exercise more. Nuff said.

Yes doctors can prescribe “steriods” When I was age 7 I was proscribed it in small amounts for a year to help strengthen my eye for surgery. Its not like they were prescribing it for “recreational use”


Doctors use many different steroids for many different purposes. Hydrocortisone Cream is available over the counter, and it is a steroid. They are heavily used to combat inflammation, in oral, and injectable forms. The most powerful are prescription drugs, including all the injectable forms. The drugs are not harmful, if used in moderation, for the specific purpose of recovering from an injury or disease.

Use as an enhancement to physical development is a defensible medical procedure if the increase in strength, or muscle mass is a medically significant need to overcome a pathological deficit. Even then, long term use is dangerous, and must be monitored to prevent the many undesired extraparametal effects.

Medical use for sports performance enhancement is malpractice, and strictly against the rules of all reputable sports organizations. It is illegal to obtain, or use, or transfer prescription medication in the United States, without proper license.

Woe getting some hostile feedback here.

And lemur,

I DO work out very hard. But I think this whole illegal steroid mess is just because this country is so fanatical about who can carry some pigskin across a a line a 100yrds away. Or who can throw a basketball through a hoop.

Which is fine. If people want to spend their leisure time like that, more power to them. But they have inacted laws saying HOW bad steroid use is because nobody wants their little small town football team to have an edge over theirs.

Lets face it that is why they are illegal because of sports. Especially when they put roids in the same category as morphine and amphetamines. That is simply ridiculous.

If they govt doesn’t want the country’s PRECIOUS sports manipulated, than they should have a minimum age for steroid use like they do alcohol. Lets face it alcohol causes more harm than steroids ever could and it is legal after 21.

So why don’t they make roids legal after say…30(because after 30 there arn’t very many atheletes left in pro sports anyway.

The reason I ask if doctors could prescribe them is because I don’t mind being monitored by a doctor.

So if someone was being monitored by a physician, what would it hurt if they would prescribe them to people that would use them responsibly. That is all I was asking not to get lectured because ya’ll don’t like’em.

My mother received regular injections of steroids during her final illness, in addition to taking them orally (I won’t name the specific steroids as the abuse of them is quite common among athletes). Her doctor had to obtain authorisation to prescribe the injections and the dispensing of them was extremely strictly controlled.

Here at least, supplying steroids for non-approved purposes is against the law and there are especially harsh penalties for doctors involved in the inappropriate supply of steroids for non-medical use.

A great many of the steroids which are illegally supplied here were developed for veterinary use and haven’t been tested for humans, making the risks involved in using them for reasons of vanity or performance enhancement mind-boggling.

First, if you have a drug and look at the insert, it will almost always have the chemical structure.

If you see a 6 sided figured and a 5 sided figure sharing a side so they look connected - that’s a steroid. They are carbon rings.

I can only assume you mean muscle enhancing steroids because steroids in general do many things. I’ve had eye drops that had steroids in them.


So find a doctor who is willing to monitor your health and prescribe you the drugs, or go to your local Gold’s gym and talk to the bodybuilders there. I think the Government’s stance is that anabolic steroids are easily abused and the health risks are significant for abusers. Coming off the drug will make you lose any gains that you made during your cycle, and may cause additional hormonal imbalances as your body will not be accustomed to having to make its own testosterone.

That said, I’ve heard of AIDS patients who have been given steroids to counteract some of the wasting that the disease can cause. Some gay males with AIDS love it, in that they can get buff while keeping their health up. So Bill, what you need to do is contract some kind of wasting disease, and then your doctor will prescribe all the nandrolone decanoate you need. :smiley:

Bill-do you have any idea WHAT steroids will do to your body? Not just bulk up! Guys usually end up with breasts and testicle shrinkage, IIRC. Girls end up with facial hair and lower voices, or something like that.

And yes, some steroids can be medical-like cortisone, as mentioned. My cat is on cortisone pills sometimes because of a gum disease.

*Originally posted by Aestivalis *

Well, I want to be big but I don’t want to go that far. :wink:

But seriously am I right or not about sports being the reason why they are illegal. Let’s face it alcohol causes all kinds of health problems(alot more than steroids) yet it isn’t illegal especially class 3 drug like anabolic steroids are.

I intended no hostility. You asked, I gave you what information I had. Your question led me to believe that you had very little knowledge of steroids, other than apocryphal stories of their benefits and the extreme cases of abuse. The real information is far more complex than that.

Occasional use, for injury recovery, and long term use for chronic medical conditions are very different things. Sports use attempts to gain the short-term benefit with long term use. That doesn’t work out the way athletes expect.

Using them long term (for more than fourteen to twenty one days) involves a lot of subtle and some not so subtle risks. Sports performance is not a good medical reason for taking those risks. If someone was being monitored by a physician, the physician would advise them not to do it. If that physician failed to do so, he would be guilty of criminal negligence, and malpractice. It has nothing to do with sports. That’s the point. It’s about the practice of medicine.

The issue of government control over medicine and drugs is a separate and unrelated issue. I don’t favor drug laws, mostly because they don’t work. I still think it is foolish, and dangerous to take steroids, whatever the law might say. Seeking a doctor to write a prescription for what you already want is not seeking his professional skill. It just means you want to get around the law, and make him commit the crime for you.

My wife had to take steriods the day before, the day of, and the day after chemotherapy sessions as to avoid some of the chemotherapy side effects. Just 3 days at a time, one tiny little pill each day.

Here’s the interesting part: On the fourth and fifth day, she had a bad case of the shakes…we asked the doctor about this and he said it was due to withdrawl!

Sheesh! That kinda freaked me out! After only 3 days of use! Powerful stuff dude…

The General Answer to “why are they illegal” is that duly constituted legislatures have made them so.

As to “why would they do such a thing,” well, that might make an interesting, or even Great (wait for it) Debate.

Oral inhaled steroids are one of the most common remedies for asthma. I’ve used them and they helped me out immensely.

My brother took a different kind for cluster headaches.

According to the USP DI, other uses for anabolic streroids include:

  1. to help patients gain weight after a severe illness, injury, or continuing infection. They also are used when patients fail to gain or maintain normal weight because of unexplained medical reasons.

  2. to treat certain types of anemia.

  3. to treat certain kinds of breast cancer in some women.

  4. to treat hereditary angioedema, which causes swelling of the face, arms, legs, throat, windpipe, bowels, or sexual

First, let us differentiate quite broadly between two different classes of steroids:

1)Anti-inflammatories, including cortisone, prednisone, medrol, prednisolone, and most types used in eye drops, topical creams, and pill forms to fight asthma and other disease states involving an overly active inflammatory response. Rheumatoid arthritis and other auto-immune diseases fall into this class. These types are not controlled substances in the states, but the stronger ones require prescriptions. These kinds are not sought after by athletes looking to build muscles. They are normally produced in the adrenal glands.

  1. Anabolic steroids. These include testosterone, estrogen, nandrolone, and others. The are structurally similar to anti-inflammatory steroids, but act differently. Broadly again, the estrogenic types build breast tissue, fat accumulation, and help female gonadal development. Produced in ovaries. Testosterone and its synthetic kin like nandrolone promote muscle development, hair growth (except they tend to accelerate male-pattern baldness), and help (along with other factors) to drive the libido. Generally produced in the testicles.
    Use outside sources of testosterone (like nandrolone) and you’ll build muscle mass if you work out, increase body hair, perhaps deepen your voice a bit. Your testicles will also shrink, as they’ll see all the nandrolone flooding the system, and think “eh, what’s the point of cranking out testosterone, someone else is doing it” and go dormant, perhaps for good, with prolonged use.
    Then there’s the fun side effect of steroid psychosis, possible with too much of any steroid, but more common with excess testosterone. Dissociation from reality, violence, and beer chugging contests are common.

My advice: Unless you have a disease state which requires use of steroids, let your own body do the job with the adrenals and gonads. We don’t know a lot about the long-term risks and benefits of their use.

Qadgop, MD

(All the above was written from memory, but I still anticipate accuracy of over 90%)

Sorry about your mother.

Not like Australia, in the states once a drug is approved a doctor can prescribe that drug for any purpose, even for an unapproved purpose. Quadgop the Mercatan will correct me if I am wrong, but I think I’m right.

I have to agree with Qadcop. If you were to ask me for testosterone to look more muscular, I would not prescribe it for you, and would try to dissuade you from seeking an alternate source.

As a minor quibble, almost all hormones are steroids. There are a few small exceptions to this, such as TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). Steroids just refer to a certain ring structure with 17 or so carbons (19 in testosterone), and are the same as “hormones” in common parlance.

The drugs used for asthma do not have many systemic side effects. These side effects are seen when steroids are used to treat (for example) lupus or autoimmune blood diseases like ITP, musculoskeletal conditions, etc. and can include immune suppression, skin that tears easily (such as when putting on your socks), development of a “buffalo hump” of fat on your neck, “moon facies” (face becomes roundish), etc.

5-10% of adolescents in the US are thought to take them, 21% have obtained the drugs from a health professional! (Buckley WE et al, JAMA 260:3441-3445, 1988; Haupt HA, Clin Sports Med 8(3)561-582, 1989).

Adverse effects are hard to document given many would-be bodybuilders use 10-40 times the therapeutic dose and stack different anabolic steroids. The adverse effects encompass most of the organ systems.

(In both sexes)
Hepatic – hepatitis, changes in liver enzyme function, bloody cysts within the liver (peliosis) and hepatocellular carcinoma

Cardiovascular – elevation of serum LDL cholesterol and decrease of the good HDL cholesterol. Increased left ventricle mass in the heart causing heart attacks and cardiomyopathy, death from cardiac arrhytmias in healthy 20-30 year olds, swelling due to sodium retention

Psychological – aggression, gfrank psychosis and manic-depression. These effects are usually transient. Drug dependency is possible.

Endocrine – Overt diabetes from steroid induced insulin resistance, acne in the face and shoulder blades

Other – baldness, nausea, dizziness, headaches, anorexia, prostate cancer and AIDS secondary to needles.

(In males)
ALSO: decreased sperm [production, impotence, decreased testicular size, changes in libido (often a decrease)

(In females)
ALSO: enlarged clitoris, decreased breast size, diminished menses, deep voice, increased hair.

Some of these side effects, such as cardiac problems and diabetes are quite serious and not worth the risk for a short term gain in muscle mass. Any health professional who gives you steroids because you want them is acting, in my view, irresponsibly and would have difficulty in front of the judge.

More information islisted in “Sports Medicine for the Primnary Care Physician”, 2nd ed., Richard Birrer, 1994.

Bill, we know you want to look good for reunion, but is your health really worth it?