Info bank

The quick information table below includes a list in which you can find the most commonly used doping substances, their medical use, and their desired and adverse effects.

More comprehensive articles on the doping substances with information on the fitness doping can be found from the left side navigation.

You can browse the table using symbols:

Ruisku Medical use
Pokaali Desired effects
Kallo Adverse effects

DOPING SUBSTANCES Ruisku_iso Pokaali_iso Kallo_iso
Anabolic steroids and testosterone Linkki

Both anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) and testosterone are classified as prescription drugs permitted for use only for the treatment of diseases confirmed by public health authorities. 

These diseases include, among others, Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome (TDS) caused by the pituitary gland or testicles, different kinds of anemia, osteoporosis, and chronic diseases of protein deficiency and prolonged tissue healing. Testosterone is also used for treatment of male menopause symptoms. 


The desired effect of anabolic steroids and testosterone is to increase the hormone concentrations that cause the growth of striated muscles.


Hormonal disturbances

The consumption of AAS and testosterone above the normal need causes hormonal disturbances.

In men, the adverse effects appear as reduced hormone production, causing, for example, structural shrinking of testicles.

In female users, testosterone and anabolic steroids cause excessive growth of body hair, lowering of the voice, decreased breast size, balding, enlargement of the clitoris, skin problems and menstrual cycle disturbances.

In adolescents, growth may stop, leading to short stature.

Severe diseases

Oversized doses of anabolic steroids and testosterone will greatly distort body fat values. The continuous use of these hormones will increase the risk of developing heart and vascular diseases, and the risk of infarctus cordis and apoplexy. Steroids weaken the cardiac contractile force and cause cardiac muscle degeneration that increases the risk of cardiac arrhythmia and sudden death.

Abuse of AAS and testosterone increases the risk of developing diabetes. The sharing of syringes with other users increases the possibility of getting blood-transmitted diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. Overuse also increases the risk of cancer and liver damage.

Mood disorders

Anabolic steroids and testosterone affect the central nervous system. During the using period, 20 to 30 percent of the people who use oversized doses have mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety, aggressiveness, and psychotic reactions with hallucinations.

According to a Finnish population-based study, the risk of AAS and testosterone abusers dying prematurely was 4.6 times higher than in the control group.

Clenbuterol Linkki

Clenbuterol is a sympathomimetic (sympathetic nervous system stimulating) beta-2-agonist that is used mainly for the treatment for asthma in horses.


Clenbuterol has an anabolic (tissue growth-stimulating) effect. It increases the protein content of striated muscles, at the same time as the glycogen of muscles and body fat burns. Clenbuterol is one of the most common substances that is used to lose weight and burn fat, as well as for the growth of muscle mass.


The adverse effects of clenbuterol include, among others, tremors, rapid heartbeat, arrhythmias, muscle cramps and electrolyte disturbances. Arrhythmias and hypokalemia (low levels of potassium in the blood) can lead to death if not treated.

Clomiphene Linkki

Clomiphene is an anti-estrogenic medical substance that is used for fertility treatments. The preparation is permitted to be used only under the supervision of a gynecologist, urologist or a doctor who works in a hospital that specializes in the field. In women, clomiphene is used to induce ovulation. In men, the medical doses accelerate testosterone secretion.


Men who use anabolic steroids commonly use clomiphene or some other antiestrogen as an accompanying drug. The purpose of clomiphene, in this case, is to inhibit the estrogen harm caused by the abuse of anabolic steroids, such as the over-growth of breasts in men and blood coagulation disturbances.


When medical doses of clomiphene are used, adverse effects appear in 10 to 20 percent of patients. Common adverse effects include, among others, headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, nervousness, insomnia and visual disturbances. In women, clomiphene can cause multiple pregnancies and uterine bleeding.

In continuous use, or in use with large doses, clomiphene can increase the risk of hormone induced cancers. Clomiphene may also cause visual disturbances, blood clots, and the over-growth of mammary glands of men.

Dinitrophenol (DNP) Linkki

2,4,-dinitrophenol (DNP) is a cell toxicant. When it gets into the human body, fat burning and body temperature increases. DNP was used in the USA as a weight loss medicine until 1938 when its poisonous effects were detected and its use was banned.


DNP is used to burn fat and lose weight.


The poisonous effects caused by DNP include, among others, harsh nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, feeling like being suffocated and having breathing problems, sweating, high fever, increase in heart rate, heart originated chest pain, headaches, restlessness, and writhing.

The difference between the dose that has a fat burning effect and the dose that leads to death is small. Sensitivity to DNP also varies widely.

Prolonged use may lead to cataracts or perilous agranulocytosis (lowered white blood cell count). Users can resist DNP for months without apparent adverse effects but can die suddenly because of DNP poisoning.

Diuretics Linkki

Diuretics include hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide, bumetanide, spironolactone, triamterene and amiloride. They are medical substances that increase the secretion of water and salts to urine. Diuretics are used for the treatment of increased blood pressure, cardiac failure and swelling.


Diuretics reduce the amount of water and salt in the body and increase the secretion of urine. Thus, outside competitive and high performance sports, diuretics are used mainly to lose weight. 


Diuretics cause fluid and electrolyte imbalances, such as hypokalaemia, decreased potassium content in blood. Hypokalaemia causes muscular weakness and may increase the possibility of getting of arrhythmias.

The most important adverse effect of potassium sparing diuretics is hyperkalemia (an excessive level of potassium in blood) that may also cause muscular weakness and heart function disturbances.

Other adverse effects of diuretics include dehydration, excessive decreases in blood pressure, aggravation of diabetes, and increased predisposition to gout. Adverse effects may be dangerous, especially with abundant perspiration. The use of diuretics as doping substances has caused deaths. 

Ephedrine Linkki

Ephedrine is a sympathetic nervous system stimulant that is used for treatment of asthma, coughs and coryza.


Ephedrine is used in sports to increase exercise tolerance, prevent exhaustion,  accelerate metabolism, and enhance power in exercises.


The adverse effects of ephedrine are tremors, rapid heartbeat and increases in blood pressure. It can cause confusional and paranoid states and severe heart arrhythmias in sensitive individuals, or if taken in too large doses.

Large amounts of medicine in concert with exertion can lead to heat stroke, dangerous heart arrhythmias and death.

Growth hormone Linkki

Growth hormone is the body’s own product secreted from anterior pituitary, and it has many kinds of functions that affect growth and metabolism.

In medicine, growth hormone is used for children with severe conditions of growth hormone deficiency (GHD) and for the treatment of the so-called Turner syndrome. 


The purpose of growth hormone abuse is its anabolic effects, because it is thought to increase muscle mass and strength, and to help the body adjust to harsh physical exertion. Growth hormone is also thought to accelerate the healing of sports injuries.


When using growth hormone in medical doses, the most common adverse effects are joint and muscle pains and different types of swelling because of fluid retention. Swelling can lead to an increase in intracranial pressure or swelling of the eyeground. It can also lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Acute overdosing can lead to hypoglycemia (too low blood sugar) initially and even to coma. Later on, the consequence is hyperglycemia (too high blood sugar). Long-term use can cause heart muscle degeneration, diabetes and acromegaly (excessive growth of gristles, fingers and chin).

The use of human-originated growth hormone is reported to increase the appearance of Creutzfeldt-Jacob’s disease 10,000 times in comparison with the non-using  population.

Insulin Linkki

Insulin made by recombinant DNA-technology is used for diabetes treatment by injections.


The aim of short-term insulin use is to enhance the growth the muscle mass. It is also used simultaneously with other doping substances to decrease insulin resistance, the decreased effect of insulin on tissue in liver, muscle and fatty tissue caused by anabolic steroids and growth hormone.


Overdosing of insulin can lead very quickly to hypoglycemia (too low blood sugar). Severe hypoglycemia can cause unconsciousness and spasms and can lead to permanent brain injury or death.

Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) Linkki

Insulin-like growth factor or IGF-1 (rhIGF-1), which is manufactured for medical use by recombinant DNA-technology, is used in Finland for long-term treatment of growth disturbances in children and youth who have severe IGF-1 deficiency. RhIGF-1 is also being researched for use in anorexia treatment and for treatment of severe insulin resistance.


The purpose of abuse is to enhance the growth the muscle mass, increase the burning of fat and speed up recovery after injuries. RhIGF-1 improves the muscle-growth stimulating effects of growth hormones and anabolic steroids. It is also found to decrease the breakdown of proteins.


RhIGF-1 may cause hypoglycemia (decreased sugar content in blood). Hypoglycemia caused by oversized doses can lead to unconsciousness or even death.

Other adverse effects can be allergic reactions, headaches, cramps, nausea, increasing intracranial hypertension, increased growth of malignant tumors and excessive growth of heart muscle.

Long-term use with oversized doses can cause acromegaly (excessive growth of gristles, forehead, nose, chin, hands and feet), heart muscle changes and arrhythmias.

Long chain IGF (LR3IGF-1) Linkki

Long chain insulin-like growth factor (LR3IGF-1) is an IGF-1 derivative that is in research use. It is not in use as a medicine.


The purpose for the abusive use of long chain insulin-like growth factor (LR3IGF-1) is to grow muscle mass, increase the rate of fat burning, and speed up the recovery from injuries.


All of the adverse effects of long chain insulin-like growth factor to human are not determined. Its adverse effects are probably similar to that of ordinary IGF-1 (mecasermin).

Acute overdose probably causes high-level hypoglycemia, decreased sugar content in the blood, that can lead to unconsciousness and death. Other adverse effects can be allergic reactions, headaches, cramps, nausea, increased intracranial pressure, increased growth of malignant tumors and excessive growth of heart muscle.

Long-term use with oversized doses can cause acromegaly (excessive growth of gristles, forehead, nose, chin, hands and feet), heart muscle changes, and arrhythmias.

Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) Linkki

The melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) regulates the function of skin pigment cells (melanocytes). Different synthetic derivatives have been made from it, such as Melanotan I (afamelanotide) and Melanotan II (the Barbie drug).

Afamelanotide was preliminarily researched, for example, for the treatment of the Erythropoietic Protoporphyria (EPP). EPP is a disease whose symptoms include an abnormal sensitivity of skin to the effects of sunlight. The α-MSH analogs have also been studied for the treatment of erectile disorders.


Synthetic analogs, such as the Melanotan II preparation (the Barbie drug), are used for their tanning effect, to lose weight and to increase libido.


The adverse effects of synthetic MSH derivatives are, among others, nausea, vomiting, face reddening and tiredness. They have also been found to cause spontaneous erections, pandiculation and yawning.

Modafinil Linkki

Modafinil is a stimulant. Its structure and effects are different from amphetamine, ephedrine and other stimulants. Modafinil is used for treatment of narcolepsy and other conditions that cause daytime sleepiness. In addition, it is sporadically used for the treatment of memory and attention deficit disturbances, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.


Modafinil improves cognitive performance and concentration. It prolongs the capacity for sports that are performed until exhaustion, especially long duration sports. It is also believed that modafinil improves explosiveness in exercise and decreases appetite.


Modafinil can cause pleasure and addiction but to a much lesser degree than amphetamines. It is well tolerated when used in medical doses, but side effects can include insomnia, headaches, nervousness, anxiety, aggressiveness, increased blood pressure, and heart symptoms.

Placental hormone Linkki

The placental hormone is present in the mother’s body during pregnancy. The placental hormone in medical form is used in fertility treatments for women. For men, the placental hormone can be used medically for fertility and delayed puberty.


By using the placental hormone, people who abuse anabolic steroids aim to prevent the decrease in hormones and to restart their body’s testosterone production. On the other hand, the placental hormone is thought to have a moderate anabolic (muscle-growth and strength increasing) effect, because it increases testosterone secretion in testicles in a way similar to the body’s own luteinizing hormone.


Adverse effects of placental hormone can include hormonal disturbances. For that reason, it’s recommended that the placental hormone is administered only under the supervision of a medical specialist or a doctor that works in a hospital specializing in the field.

For women, the placental hormone increases the risk of having multiple pregnancies. If a man getting placental hormone treatment has latent or overt cardiac failure, renal failure, epilepsy or migraines, the patient should be monitored closely because increased androgen production can cause the worsening of these conditions or their reactivation.

Other possible adverse effects are swelling, breast tenderness (also in men), and in some cases deep-vein thrombosis.

Tamoxifen Linkki

Tamoxifen is an antiestrogenic medical substance that is used for breast cancer treatment.


By using tamoxifen, anabolic steroids abusers are trying to prevent the estrogenic harm caused by anabolic steroids, such as the overgrowth of breasts and blood clots.


The adverse effects of tamoxifen include, among others, nausea, vomiting, swelling and dermatitis. Patients who receive tamoxifen treatment have been found to develop visual disturbances such as changes in the cornea, cataracts, and retinopathia (retinal degeneration).

The long-term use of tamoxifen is suspected to increase the risk of some cancers. In women, tamoxifen causes menstrual disturbances.

Thyroid hormones Linkki

Thyroid hormones have an important function in the regulation of normal growth, development, metabolism, body temperature, and blood circulation. Both insufficiency and excessive amounts can cause problems. Thyroid hormones are permitted to be used as drugs only by a doctor’s prescription.


The aim is to shape body composition by accelerating metabolism and burning body fat by abusing thyroid hormones.


Oversized doses of thyroid hormone cause symptoms that are similar to hypothyreosis, such as heart palpitation, arrhythmias, diarrhea, emaciation, decrease in temperature tolerance, insomnia, agitation, and even psychoses.

Prolonged thyroxine overdosing increases the risk of osteoporosis. Acute large thyroxine doses lead to thyrotoxicosis. The symptoms are high body temperature, failing heart functioning and coma. For people with latent heart diseases, adverse heart-related effects can be perilous.