Steroid Abuse in Bangladesh


As a student of pharmacy, I have always been curious on steroids. It has both effects of magical touch and dark spell on the people. Steroid is said to be the ‘Last Option’ in treatment as it suppress the immune system. Steroids mainly work by inhibiting synthesis of prostaglandin. So roughly it may seem as a ‘Quick and Magical Recovery’ but this really has a dangerous effects in the long run for chronic use.
Steroid play a great role for organ transplantation as it suppress the immune system after operation. Also different types of steroids like dexamethasone prednisolone, testosterone, estradiol, cholic acid, progesterone and cholecalciferol (VitD) are very important for human body. Steroids (cholesterol), lipids, and proteins – these are main components of bi-layered cell membrane.
Though being such an important element, steroids have a really long list of adverse effect and abuses. Steroid abuse is generally seen among three classes of people. I will be discussing these three classes only.
Arnold Schwarzenegger still is a craze among people. Every man dreams to have a body like him. The bodybuilders, gym going people, who are so passionate about their health and physical appearance that they easily get attracted to steroids to have a ‘Schwarzenegger’ look in a short time. The quick result inspire them and lead to a long term use of steroids. This gradually results in various side effects like aggressive mood, reduced immunity, swelling of face, veins, hypertension etc. Gynecomastia is also another side effect of steroids that frequently occur in men. Also puffiness of cheeks, cataract, edema, liver problem, blood poisoning etc. Change in prostate gland size is another major problem which can later cause sexual problems and also decreased sperm count.
Steroid abuse has been an alarming issue for the Bangladeshi women also. Lots of cosmetic companies in Bangladesh are vastly using steroids in their beauty products. Also, in Dhaka, the top level beauty parlors are using huge amount of steroids for beauty care service like facial, spa etc. Different classes of beauty conscious people, models, media celebrities etc tend to go to these branded parlors frequently. They become the victim in the long run. Steroid can indirectly cause early aging. Also have effects on pores, face swelling, abnormal facial hair growth due to hormonal alteration etc.
Another horrible side of Steroid abuse has been recently marked, that is steroid abuse in the brothels. The poor women living there are regularly using the drugs having no idea about the danger. Oradexon is a popular drug in these areas for being cheap and available. Under aged girls living here, are taking these drugs by themselves or by force as this help them to gain weight quickly. The women here are attracted to steroids as they believe that it help to make themattractive. One of them even says,
“I don’t worry about the health risks because I have a son. I take Oradexon and I have good customers and I have made quite a good future for my son.If I die because of taking Oradexon I won’t have any remorse because my son is all set,”
Oradexon is the same drug that is used by some farmers to fatten up their cattle, especially during the time of ‘Eid-Ul-Adha’ when the market demand is high. This drug has a very long half-life and remain in the meat of the animal. So when people eat the meat, they are basically taking the drug in an indirect way and unintentionally. This later result in the same harmful results in their bodies.
If steroidal drugs are taken according to the physician’s prescription, then it is safe for health and also can be very much beneficial. But using steroids for unethical and non-therapeutic use is realy dangerous for the health. So campaigns, seminars, workshops etc are arranged and still going on to spread awareness about steroid abuse.

Nawshaba Mahzabin, is a student of Department of Pharmacy, East West University. She can be reached at

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