Anabolic-androgenic steroids are widely misused in human sports and are also used as growth promoters in livestock. Athletes who consume meat containing such hormone residues may risk failing a sports drug test. Prompted by an athlete's defense case, we questioned whether the consumption of small livestock given doses of anabolic steroid, orally or intramuscularly, could generate positive results in samples tested by our analytical procedures. We analyzed urine from eight men who consumed chickens that had been either fed with methenolone acetate (1 mg/day) from day 0 to 21 or injected with methenolone heptanoate depot (1 mg/intramuscular injection) on days 0, 7, and 14 and slaughtered on day 22. No methenolone or characteristic major metabolite was detected in samples from subjects who ate meat from the orally dosed chickens. However, 50% of the samples collected 24 h after consumption of the intramuscularly dosed chickens were confirmed positive. Hence, eating meat containing small amounts of injected hormone may constitute a serious liability to the athlete.
- © 1994 The American Association for Clinical Chemistry