My watch list  


Systematic (IUPAC) name
CAS number 434-22-0
ATC code A14AB01
PubChem 9904
Chemical data
Formula C18H26O2 
Mol. mass 274.40
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability 2.24% (Oral)
100% (Intramuscular)
Metabolism Hepatic
Half life 15 days
Excretion Undocumented
Therapeutic considerations
Pregnancy cat.

X (US)

Legal status

Schedule III (US)

Routes Intramuscular

Nandrolone is an anabolic steroid occurring naturally in the human body, albeit in small quantities. Nandrolone is most commonly sold commercially as its decanoate ester (Deca-Durabolin) and less commonly as a phenylpropionate ester (Durabolin). Nandrolone decanoate is used in the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women (though now not recommended) at a dose of 50 mg every three weeks. It is also used for some aplastic anaemias.



The positive effects of the drug include muscle growth, appetite stimulation and increased red blood cell production and bone density. Clinical studies have shown it to be effective in treating anaemia, osteoporosis and some forms of neoplasia including breast cancer, and also acts as a progestin-based contraceptive. For these reasons[citation needed], in the United States nandrolone received FDA approval in 1983, and while sale in the U.S. is now restricted by the Controlled Substances Act, nandrolone remains available by prescription in most countries which have not adopted American-style "War on Drugs" anti-steroid campaigns. In addition to legal production, Nandrolone is also extensively used by bodybuilders and other athletes seeking an edge in professional competition.

Because nandrolone is not broken down into DHT, the deleterious effects common to most anabolic steroids on the scalp, skin, and prostate are lessened to a degree. The lack of alkylation on the 17α-carbon drastically reduces the drug's liver toxicity. Estrogenic effects resulting from reaction with aromatase are also mitigated as a result of the drug being a progestin, but effects such as gynaecomastia and reduced libido still occur in larger doses. Other side-effects can include erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular damage, as well as several ailments resulting from the drug's effect of lowering levels of luteinizing hormone through negative feedback.

Detection methods

Nandrolone use is indirectly detectable in urine tests by testing for the presence of 19-norandrosterone, a metabolite of this molecule. The International Olympic Committee has set a limit of 2 ng per ml of urine as the upper limit, beyond which an athlete is suspected of doping.

Urine analysis as a method of detecting nandrolone abuse has recently become somewhat controversial, following studies by the University of Aberdeen showing that the metabolite product can also show up in urine in quantities above the upper limit from a combination of high-protein diets utilising the legal nutritional supplement creatine and hard cardiovascular exercise. The reason for this unexpected result has not been determined. Another possible (though unlikely) reason for a false positive result is the consumption of beef from cattle treated with steroids including nandrolone (used in overturning the verdict against the bobsleigh racer, Lenny Paul). Heavy consumption of the essential amino acid lysine (as indicated in the treatment of cold sores) has also shown false positives in some and was cited by American Shotputter C.J. Hunter as the reason for his positive test. A final possible cause of incorrect urine test results is the presence of metabolites from other anabolic steroids. As a result of the numerous overturned verdicts, the testing procedure was reviewed by UK Sport [1] in 2000.


Publicized abuse cases

  • Roger Clemens was reported to have been injected with Nandrolone (Deca-Durabolin) by major league strength coach Brian McNamee during the 2000 baseball season.[1]
  • Former WWE and current TNA wrestler Kurt Angle failed a WWE drug test under the company's Wellness Policy after his prescription for Nandrolone had expired.
  • Former MMA PRIDE fighter and olympic judoka Paweł Nastula, and Vitor Belfort tested positive for nandrolone in 2006.
  • UFC's Sean "Muscle Shark" Sherk tested positive for Nandrolone Metabolite after successfully defending his Lightweight title against Hermes Franca on July 7th, 2007.
  • Shawne Merriman violated the NFL Steroid Policy in October 2006, and his Attorney stated that he believed the substance he used was Nandrolone. Merriman claims it must have been in a tainted nutritional supplement he took regularly.
  • Petr Korda became the first high-profile tennis player discovered ingesting a banned substance. Following a match at Wimbledon, Korda tested positive for nandrolone. Subsequently, he was banned from the sport for one year. Korda did not return to the professional tour; the ban effectively marked the end of his career.


  1. ^ All-Star Roster Shows Up on Mitchell Report, 12-13-2007
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nandrolone". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE