Anabolic Steroids help HIV people gain muscle mass and weightAccording to a new review, people who are suffering from HIV and treated with anabolic steroids for preventing AIDS Wasting may experience modest gains in muscle mass and weight.

Lead author Karen Johns, a Medical Assessment Officer from the Agency Health Canada, remarked that the magnitude of experienced weight gain can be considered to be clinically relevant. The review was published in an issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration.

From News-Medical.Net:

Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances similar to the male sex hormone testosterone that promote growth of skeletal muscle and the development of male sexual characteristics.

Although most recently in the news for their misuse by professional athletes, anabolic steroids have legitimate medical application for men with low testosterone and people with certain types of anemia. Two anabolic steroids available in the United States, nandrolone decanoate and oxandrolone, have been used to help increase weight and muscle mass in small studies of people with wasting.

Conversely, anabolic steroid use has been associated with increased rates of HIV in those who share needles or use nonsterile needles when they inject steroids.

In the review studies, anabolic steroids were administered to patients either orally or by injection. The main side effects were mild and included abnormal liver function tests; acne; mild increase in body hair; breast tenderness; increased libido, aggressiveness and irritability; and mood swings — all common side effect of anabolic steroid use.

“The risks and side effects of taking anabolic steroids long-term are certainly of concern,” Johns said. “We were unable to assess these risks in our review due to the short duration of treatment in the studies.”

AIDS Wasting leads to significant body weight loss in people with HIV and result in loss of muscles. The wasting stems from body’s lost ability to facilitate muscle growth and from low testosterone levels.