Stanozolol, an inexpensive anabolic steroid with a 30:1 anabolic:androgenic ratio, was administered to 12 male and 15 female patients with biochemically proven hereditary angioedema over a 2-yr period to obtain a systematic assessment of the relationship between drug dosage and clinical response, incidence of side effects, and amelioration of complement abnormalities. All 27 patients attained the minimal effective dose, ranging from 0.5 to 2 mg daily, which controlled the frequency and intensity of symptoms with minimal side effects. At daily maintenance doses of 2, 1, and 0.5 mg the frequencies of attacks per weeks of therapy were 1/14.6, 1/7.2, and 1/8.2 wk, respectively. Side effects with maintenance therapy included menstrual abnormalities and virilization in four females and elevation of serum creatinine phosphokinase (CPK) in five males. In six patients on maintenance doses of stanozolol, serum levels of testosterone, free thyroxin (T4), and thyroxin binding globulin (TBG) (four males), and of estradiol, progesterone, T4, and TBG (two females) were normal. Slightly low serum levels of progesterone and TBG were found in two females who had normal menstrual cycles. Statistically significant elevations above pretherapy levels of serum inhibitor to the activated first component of complement function and C4 protein and function occurred when patients were on maintenance therapy, but these measurements remained below the lower limit of normal range. Higher doses of stanozolol (4 mg/day), which caused greater immunochemical responses, were unnecessary for control of clinical disease and were unjustified for chronic therapy because of more frequent side effects.