Oxymetholone is both an anabolic and an androgenic steroid. Anabolic steroids are named for their ability to promote anabolism, or increased production of protein and lean body mass. Androgenic steroids include the hormone testosterone and many synthetic steroids. Androgens stimulate the development of male sexual characteristics, including growth of facial and pubic hair, enlargement of the genitals, deepening of the voice, increased muscle bulk and increased libido. They also increase the secretion of sebum, which may lead to acne and promote male pattern baldness. The most androgenic steroid is testosterone, and all synthetics are indexed by comparison with testosterone. Oxymetholone is about one-half as androgenic as testosterone, more than most other synthetic steroids.

Oxymetholone is a very powerful compound with strong androgenic and anabolic effects. It can dramatically increase muscle mass, as well as cause a noticeable increase in libido. Oxymetholone may be a worthwhile option for people who are having a difficult time gaining weight and who are not responding to other less powerful compounds such as oxandrolone, nandrolone, and decanoate or even one of the testosterone products. It is often found to be effective for HIV-positive patients and in one study, even those people who suffered from infections during the study continued to gain weight with oxymetholone. This is highly significant because weight loss remains an independent predictor of mortality. Oxymetholone is also indicated in the treatment of anemias caused by deficient red cell production. Acquired aplastic anemia, congenital aplastic anemia, myelofibrosis and the hypoplastic anemias due to the administration of myelotoxic drugs often respond.

Oxymetholone is a 17-alpha-alkylated anabolic steroid. Oxymetholone is a derivative of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and is both highly anabolic and highly androgenic. Oxymetholone is used for physical enhancement due to its dramatic influence on muscle mass, strength and recovery ability. Oxymetholone does not bind well to anabolic receptor sites, thus suggesting its influence on muscle mass is mediated through non-anabolic receptor action. This activity is referred to as anti-proteolytic or anti-catabolic. Oxymetholone is used in the treatment of aplastic anemia and metastic breast cancer. Anabolic steroid are frequently used to treat anemia in postmenopausal women who have osteoporosis, because of the drugs tissue building and bone strengthening capabilities.