Winstrol (stanozolol) is a synthetic anabolic-androgenic steroid used to treat hereditary angioedema (HAE), anemia, and some types of breast cancer.

An anabolic-androgenic steroid is a compound that functions like the male hormone testosterone. Unlike corticosteroids, which are hormones that act on the immune system, anabolic-androgenic steroids play a role in muscle development (anabolic) in addition to male sexual characteristics (androgenic).

Stanozolol was discovered in 1959. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it in 1962 under the brand name Winstrol for certain conditions. Body builders and other athletes became aware that it could help them bulk up or compete better, and began using it. But sports federations banned it later as a performance-enhancing drug.

Its approval was modified as regulations governing the pharmaceutical industry evolved. Winstrol was withdrawn from the U.S. market in 2010 and is now available only with a prescription to treat hereditary angiodema, anemia and breast cancer.

How Winstrol works

Most cases of HAE are caused by mutations of the SERPING1 gene, which contains the information necessary to generate a protein called C1 esterase inhibitor (C1INH). People with HAE produce nonfunctional or insufficient amounts of C1INH, leading to spontaneous swelling in the body. As a consequence of C1INH deficiency, C4 protein levels are also almost always low in HAE patients.

Winstrol increases levels of C1INH and C4 protein in the blood by enhancing their production. Elevating levels of the two proteins close to the normal range helps prevent HAE attacks. Although the exact mechanism of how it acts on protein production is not fully understood, Winstrol is a well-established treatment for managing HAE.

Winstrol in clinical trials

Several clinical trials have evaluated Winstrol’s ability to prevent HAE flare-ups. Some have assessed its long-term safety and effectiveness. Many of the studies have involved small patient populations.

According to a 10-year study, Winstrol is safe for long-term use at a dose of 1 mg a day or more. It can reduce the number of swelling flare-ups from one or two per month to one in three months, the study showed. Winstrol even sent some patients’ disease into remission.

Further follow-up of the same patients revealed no significant side effects of Winstrol after nearly 40 years of taking it. Six were achieved remission and got off the treatment.

Further information

Winstrol is among the steroids that both athletes and a lot of the public abuse because of its performance-enhancing effects. Taking it is considered doping, so the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibits it.

In the 1970s, the International Olympic Committee and the International Amateur Athletic Committee banned its use. After limiting its use to osteoporosis and growth defects, the FDA later classified it as a schedule 3 controlled substance. Currently, pharmaceutical-grade Winstrol is manufactured in the U.S. exclusively for prescription use.

Some of its common side effects are weight gain, acne, menstrual irregularities, high blood pressure, facial hair growth, and mood changes.

Although it is a low-risk drug, Wintrol can lead to severe, and even fatal, liver problems. Symptoms such as abdominal pain, light-colored stool, dark-colored urine, nausea or vomiting, and yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, can indicate liver problems.

***

Angioedema News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.