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There are concerns that androstenedione, like related hormones, might increase the risk of liver cancer and heart disease. In support of this last consideration, there is some evidence that androstenedione can adversely affect cholesterol levels. 1 In addition, because androstenedione may raise testosterone levels in women, it could cause women to develop facial hair and other male-pattern appearance changes. 2 According to one case report, use of androstenedione was associated with loss of libido and decreased sperm count in a 29 year old bodybuilder. 3 While a single case report does not prove cause-and-effect, androstenedione's apparent ability to raise estrogen levels in men would be consistent with these symptoms.
Another case report suggests an additional potential complication with the use of androstenedione. 4 A man who was using androstenedione to improve his physique experienced priapism (painful continuous erection) for over 30 hours, requiring a visit to the emergency room. Previously, also while using androstenedione, he had experienced an episode lasting 2 to 3 hours that spontaneously resolved itself. It isn't certain that androstenedione was the cause, but this appears to be the most likely possibility.
- Broeder CE, Quindry J, Brittingham K, Panton L, Thomson J, Appakondu S, Breuel K, Byrd R, Douglas J, Earnest C, Mitchell C, Olson M, Roy T, Yarlagadda C. The Andro Project: physiological and hormonal influences of androstenedione supplementation in men 35 to 65 years old participating in a high-intensity resistance training program. Arch Intern Med. 160(20):3093-104.
- Leder BZ, Leblanc KM, Longcope C, Lee H, Catlin DH, Finkelstein JS. Effects of oral androstenedione administration on serum testosterone and estradiol levels in postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 87(12):5449-54.
- Ritter RH, Cryar AK, Hermans MR. Oral androstenedione-induced impotence and severe oligospermia. Fertil Steril. 84(1):217.
- Kachhi PN, Henderson SO. Priapism after androstenedione intake for athletic performance enhancement. Ann Emerg Med. 35(4):391-3.