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Table 4 Groups of non-AAS substances used by AAS users

From: Polypharmacy among anabolic-androgenic steroid users: a descriptive metasynthesis

Group Examples Purpose(s)
Analgesics/non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs/opioids Acetaminophen, aspirin®, Ben-Gay®, benoxaprofen, buprenorphine, codeine, corticosteroids, heroin, hydrocodone, lidocaine, muscle oil (synthol) and muscle relaxing drugs, nalbuphine/nubain®, naproxen, oxycodone, phenylbutazone, piroxicam Relieving inflammation, pain, and fever
Anti-oestrogens Aminogluthimide, aromatase inhibitors, clomiphene/clomid, proviron®, tamoxifen Improved testosterone production, burning body fat, reducing the effects of AAS on oestrogens, and dealing with gynecomastia
Cardiovascular drugs Beta-2-agonists, beta-blockers, captopril, carvedilol, digoxin, thiazides Lowering blood pressure, reducing risk of infarction, and burning body fat
CNS depressants Alcohol, benzodiazepines, buprenorphine, cannabis/cannabinoids, diazepam, gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), heroin, hydrocodone, ketamine, oxycodone Improving sleep, relaxation, and dealing with side effects of AAS use such as gynecomastia
CNS stimulants Amyl nitrate, caffeine, cocaine, ephedrine, epinephrine, mephedrone, meth/amphetamine, yohimbine Alertness, boosting training, burning body fat, increased aggression and strength, and psychological wellbeing
Cosmetic drugs Anti-acne drugs, esiclene, melanotan I, suntan pills, thiomucase Curing acne, skin tanning, and enhancing physical appearance
Dietary/nutritional supplements Calcium, choline and inositol, chromium picolinate, conjugated linoleic acid, creatine, electrolyte solution, glutamine, hydroxocobal amin, piroxicam, potassium, protein powder For essential nutrients to supplement the diet and combat the risk of illness
Diuretics Furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, spironolactone, torsemide Increasing strength, masking AAS and other doping drugs, burning body fat, and reducing levels of body fluid
Fat burning/weight loss drugs 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP), anti-oestrogens, beta blockers, bronchodilators, caffeine, chromium picolinate, clenbuterol, cocaine, conjugated linoleic acid, ephedrine, hydrochlorothiazide, insulin**, laxatives††, liothyronine, melanotan II, meth/amphetamine, spironolactone, teroxin (T3), thiomucase, thyroxine, triacana, yohimbine Suppression of appetite, increased metabolism, and reduced absorption of body fat
Muscle/strength-enhancement drugs (non-hormone) Amphetamine/meth, anti-catabolics, glutamine, bronchodilators, chromium picolinate, clenbuterol, creatine, ephedrine, herbal products††, hydroxocobal amin (B12), myoblast, muscle oil (synthol), protein powder, recovery drinks Enhancing the size and structure of muscles as well as boosting strength
Muscle/strength-enhancement hormones†† Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), erythropoietin (EPO), genotropine, growth hormone, growth hormone releasing peptide (GHRP), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), insulin, levodopa, mechano growth factor, pregnyl®, prohormones, proviron®, somatotropine Enhancing the size and structure of muscles as well as boosting strength
Recreational substances/drugs Alcohol, buprenorphine, cannabis/cannabinoids, cigarettes/tobacco methamphetamine, blood pressure regulators, caffeine, cocaine, ecstasy, hallucinogens, heroin, hydrocodone, ketamine, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), sedatives, tetrahydrocannabinol Enhancing sleep, relaxation, and psychological wellbeing
Sexual enhancement drugs Anti-oestrogens, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), melanotan II, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE5i), sildenafil/cialis®, yohimbine Dealing with testicular atrophy, improved sexual desire or arousal and boosting erectile functioning
  1. CNS: Central nervous system.
  2. Substance class - not specified.
  3. ††Some are used for direct muscle enhancing properties and others for counteracting shut-down of endogenous testosterone production.
  4. **Skårberg [54].
  5. There may be overlap between classes (e.g. CNS depressants may be used for promoting sleep and for analgesic properties).
  6. Some of the drugs do not have well documented efficacy for their alleged motives for use.