Oxandrolone: Uses, How to Take, & Side Effects

Updated in December 2023

Oxandrolone is a hormonal steroid derived from testosterone that contains anabolic and androgenic properties. It is indicated for the treatment of alcoholic hepatitis, protein-energy malnutrition, growth delay or Turner’s syndrome. 

This medication is a synthetic steroid, and therefore is used as an anabolic steroid to boost performance and muscle gains in athletes. However, this is a contraindicated use, as it can lead to many health complications, like liver disease. 

Oxandrolone should only be used as instructed by a doctor. It can be obtained at the pharmacy with a medical prescription. 

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Common uses

Oxandrolone is indicated for the treatment of:

  • Acute, moderate or severe alcoholic hepatitis
  • Protein-energy malnutrition
  • Turner’s syndrome 
  • Growth delays
  • Catabolic tissue breakdown

Using oxandrolone can increase athletic performance, although it is not recommended for this use as it can be dangerous. You should only use this medication as prescribed by a doctor to ensure safety. 

How to take

Oxandrolone is used orally, with doses that vary depending on the patient’s treatment goal, weight and overall health status. 

Generally, the dose for adults is 2.5 mg, 2 to 4 times per day as instructed by a doctor. The maximum dose should not exceed 20 mg per day. In children, dosing should be calculated by a pediatrician, according to the child’s weight. 

Possible side effects

The most common side effects during oxandrolone treatment include masculine characteristics in women, like a deeper voice, increased hair growth, skin changes and irregular menstrual cycles. This medication can also cause bladder irritation, breast pain or sensitivity, breast growth in men, priapism or acne.

Oxandrolone can also cause liver problems, which may cause symptoms like nausea, right upper stomach pain, excessive fatigue, appetite loss, itching throughout the body, dark urine, light-colored stool, and yellow skin or eyes. 

Furthermore, this medication can also decrease certain clotting factors, increase calcium levels, decrease libido, cause diarrhea and increase the risk for leukemia and prostate hypertrophy.

Contraindications for use

Oxandrolone should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, nor by patients with metastatic breast cancer, high calcium levels, liver disease, kidney inflammation or prostate cancer.

Furthermore, this medication should not be used by people with allergies to this substance or to any component in its formula. 

The use of oxandrolone should be monitored closely by a doctor if patients have a history of cardiac disease, hepatic or renal disease, coronary artery disease, diabetes, COPD or prostate hypertrophy.