All IPEDs are powerful drugs that can have a significant effect on many different systems within the human body at the same time. This can put a strain on the body, leaving it less able to cope with other physical stressors. Recreational drugs such as stimulants like cocaine or ecstasy, alcohol, hallucinogens and so forth, also put a strain on the body, especially the liver.


It is estimated that the liver has approximately 500 different functions within the body, but the main functions are; filtering toxins from the blood, helping to regulate core temperature, aiding in the digestion of fats, helping to control blood sugar levels, regulating and making hormones (including testosterone), producing both clotting agents and chemicals that stop the blood thickening too much and a large range of other functions. Good liver function is therefore essential to a healthy life.

Oral anabolic steroids are specially designed to withstand being broken down by the liver. If you were to take normal testosterone in pill form, the liver would metabolise it into different chemicals and would not be bioavailable. So to preserve the original drug as it is, the drug is altered to allow it to survive going through the liver. This is a process called “methylation”. If you look at the chemical name of most oral oral anabolic steroids you will see “17aa” somewhere in the name; this is the methyl group that has been added to the steroid molecule. The same applies to “pro hormones” and “designer steroids”. Whilst this does make the drug more bioavailable, it also puts a significant strain on the liver and has been shown to lead to a number of health problems, especially jaundice. Furthermore; if your liver isn’t functioning properly, then you are more likely to experience a range of negative health effects as your entire system will be affected.


Using recreational drugs when on a steroid cycle that includes oral steroids, places greater strain on the liver and should be avoided. If you regularly use recreational drugs and/or alcohol and are planning to use oral steroids; it would be highly advisable to have your liver function checked by a health professional before you start the steroid cycle; just to make sure that there are no pre-existing problems. The use of IPEDs can make any existing health problems worse, so it is always advisable to have a health check before starting a cycle or any kind.

Some IPEDs can amplify the effects of recreational drugs in unpredictable and potentially dangerous ways. Drugs such as T3 and T4 (thyroid drugs) can amplify the negative effects of stimulants such as raised blood pressure, insomnia and mood swings. Some IPEDs, such as fat-burners, often already contain stimulant agents and using them at the same time as recreational stimulants can also increase the negative effects.


If you look at the information that accompanies all prescription drugs, it will have a section on “contraindications”. This refers to the types of prescription or over-the-counter drugs that you should avoid whilst taking that particular drug. The reason you should avoid mixing certain drugs is because they sometimes act together in ways that can produce very serious health effects. Many people using IPEDs will use a range of different types of drugs (steroids, peptides, fat burners, cancer treatments, etc) at the same time. At this time we have very little evidence about what these combinations do; there are no medical situations where people are prescribed all of these drugs at the same time and with the kinds of doses that people using IPEDs often use them at. We do know that each of these different types of drugs carries its own potential health risks and we know that having several different health issues at the same time; even if they seem relatively minor on their own, can lead to more serious health problems when the effects combine.

Using recreational drugs; which are often of poor quality and likely to contain something other than the drug they claim to be, is therefore adding significant risk to your health as you have no way of telling how the drug may interact with the IPEDs you have used. The side-effects of both types of drugs could also, potentially, interact and cause other more serious health problems or make existing problems worse.

Alcohol; whilst the quality may be assured, places a great strain on the liver and heavy drinking, especially long term heavy drinking, can seriously damage it. Using alcohol regularly, or binge drinking at weekends, can add to any problems experienced as a result of using oral anabolic steroids. There are safe drinking guidelines available; but as everyone responds a little differently to drugs of any kind, it is not possible to suggest a “safe” drinking limit whilst using IPEDs. The best possible advice is to avoid alcohol whilst on cycle. Professional strength athletes such as bodybuilders do not use alcohol at all whilst on cycle.

Any drug use should be considered carefully and any decision you make should be as informed as possible. If you start to feel unwell using any drug; stop taking that drug and allow your body time to recover properly.

Injecting carries several risks, both from the process and from the drugs themselves. It is important to be aware of these risks before attempting to inject any substance.

© 2019 Public Health Wales | Iechyd Cyhoeddus
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Injecting carries several risks, both from the process and from the drugs themselves. It is important to be aware of these risks before attempting to inject any substance.

© 2018
Public Health Wales | Iechyd Cyhoeddus
Privacy Notice