Hypercalcemia may develop both spontaneously and as a result of androgen therapy in women with disseminated breast carcinoma. If it develops while on this agent, the drug should be discontinued. Caution is required in administering these agents to patients with cardiac, renal or hepatic disease. Cholestatic jaundice is associated with therapeutic use of anabolic and androgenic steroids. Edema may occur occasionally with or without congestive heart failure. Concomitant administration of adrenal steroids or ACTH may add to the edema. In children, anabolic steroid treatment may accelerate bone maturation without producing compensatory gain in linear growth. This adverse effect may result in compromised adult stature. The younger the child the greater the risk of compromising final mature height. The effect on bone maturation should be monitored by assessing bone age of the wrist and hand every six months. This drug has not been shown to be safe and effective for the enhancement of athletic performance. Because of the potential risk of serious adverse health effects, this drug should not be used for such purpose.
In the United States, supplements such as tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) and androstenedione (street name "Andro") previously could be purchased legally without a prescription through many commercial sources, including health food stores. Steroidal supplements can be converted into testosterone or a similar compound in the body. Less is known about the side effects of steroidal supplements, but if large quantities of these compounds substantially increase testosterone levels in the body, then they also are likely to produce the same side effects as anabolic steroids themselves. The purchase of these supplements, with the notable exception of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), became illegal after the passage in 2004 of amendments to the Controlled Substances Act.