1. In a previous study of the effects of methandienone (Dianabol) on men undergoing athletic training, strength and performance increased, but not significantly more when the subjects were taking the drug than when they were taking placebo. The subjects did, however, gain more weight on the drug, with increases in total body potassium and muscle dimensions. It remained an open question whether the muscles had gained normal tissue or intracellular fluid.
2. In an attempt to distinguish between these possibilities the trial has been repeated, using as subjects seven male weight-lifters in regular training, and including measurements of total body nitrogen. As before, a dose of 100 mg of methandienone/day was given alternately with the placebo in a double-blind crossover experiment. The treatment periods lasted 6 weeks and were separated by an interval of 6 weeks. Body weight, potassium and nitrogen, muscle size, and leg performance and strength increased significantly during training on the drug, but not during the placebo period.
3. The finding of increased body nitrogen suggested that the weight gain was not only intracellular fluid. The increases in body potassium (436 ± sem 41 mmol) and nitrogen (255 ± 69 g) were too large in proportion to the weight gain (2.3 ± 0.4 kg) for this to be attributed to gain of normal muscle or other lean tissue, and imply gain of nitrogen-rich, phosphate-poor substance. Although this action of methandienone might be described as anabolic, the weight gain produced is not normal muscle.