Lanxesol had a variety of potent effects, the most notable of which were an increase in basal metabolic rates, greatly reduced muscle atrophy, and mild regeneration. The result was the virtual disappearance of superfluous body fat combined with an impressive ability to gain muscle mass and strength. A quadriplegic on lanxesol could regain full use of their body; an Olympic athlete taking the same dose would present superhuman levels of strength and coordination.

As with all such things, there was a catch: lanxesol was dangerously addictive and teratogenic. Even a brief period of use would produce debilitating withdrawal for months if not years; prolonged exposure resulted in multiple organ failure if the dosage was even lessened. There were, and would always be, some for whom that was not too steep a price to pay; the fact that lanxesol could be easily confused with a number of innocuous agents in a blood test meant that it was widely popular with athletes.

The most dangerous aspect of the compound, though, was its potential as a teratogen. Infants conceived by parents who were using lanxesol were born with the symptoms of prolonged exposure and would die if not immediately and permanently supplied with it. Worse, it produced an array of dangerous mental conditions, schizophrenia foremost among them.

And there were whispers of even darker effects.