A very typical case of severe cholestasis due to anabolic steroid use. Because the steroids were being used without medical supervision, the dose and actual duration of use of each preparation was unclear, but cholestasis usually arises within 4 to 12 weeks of starting a C-17 alkylated androgenic steroid. The jaundice can be severe and prolonged and accompanied by severe pruritus and marked weight loss. The serum enzymes are typically minimally elevated except for a short period immediately after stopping therapy. The pattern of enzyme elevations can be hepatocellular, cholestatic or mixed. Liver biopsy shows a “bland” cholestasis with minimal inflammation and hepatocellular necrosis. Ma Huang has also been implicated in cases of drug induced liver injury, but is associated with an acute hepatocellular pattern of injury.
Anavar is made using Oxandrolone and is more commonly known as a Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) anabolic steroid with almost no androgenic qualities and with some mild anabolic properties. Anavar is an oral steroid that, much like many other oral steroids, is a C17alpha-alkylated medication (17-aa). This means that it’s been altered at the 17th carbon position so that it survives passing through the liver after digestions. If it wasn’t for this alteration, it would never even make it to the bloodstream and would just be destroyed in the liver.