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Am J Gastroenterol. 2002 Jul;97(7):1674-81.

Anabolic-androgenic steroids for alcoholic liver disease: a Cochrane review.

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The Copenhagen Trial Unit, Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark.



The objectives were to assess the beneficial and harmful effects of anabolic-androgenic steroids for alcoholic liver disease.


The Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group Controlled Trials Register, The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and full text searches were combined. Only randomized clinical trials studying patients with alcoholic liver disease were included. Interventions encompassed anabolic-androgenic steroids at any dose or duration versus placebos or no intervention. The statistical package (RevMan and MetaView) provided by The Cochrane Collaboration was used.


Five randomized clinical trials (including mainly men with alcoholic hepatitis and/or cirrhosis) were identified. Only one trial was assessed as adequate regarding all methodological quality components. Anabolic-androgenic steroids versus placebos or no intervention demonstrated no significant effects on mortality (relative risk [RR] = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.72-1.28), liver-related mortality (RR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.60-1.15), complications to the liver disease (RR = 1.25, 95% CI = 0.74-2.10), liver histology, and a number of other outcome measures. Anabolic-androgenic steroids were not associated with a significantly increased risk of nonserious adverse events, but with the seldom occurrence of serious adverse events (RR = 4.54,95% CI = 0.57-36.30).


This systematic review could not demonstrate any significant beneficial effects of anabolic-androgenic steroids on any clinically important outcomes of patients with alcoholic liver disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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