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Anavar was the old U.S. brand name for the oral steroid oxandrolone, first produced in 1964 by the drug manufacturer Searle. It was designed as an extremely mild anabolic, one that could even be safely used as a growth stimulant in children. One immediately thinks of the standard worry, "steroids will stunt growth". But it is actually the excess estrogen produced by most steroids that is the culprit, just as it is the reason why women stop growing sooner and have a shorter average stature than men. Oxandrolone will not aromatize, and therefore the anabolic effect of the compound can actually promote linear growth. Women usually tolerate this drug well at low doses, and at one time it was prescribed for the treatment of osteoporosis. But the atmosphere surrounding steroids began to change rapidly in the 1980's, and prescriptions for oxandrolone began to drop. Lagging sales probably led Searle to discontinue manufacture in 1989, and it had vanished from U.S. pharmacies until recently. Oxandrolone tablets are again available inside the U.S. by BTG, bearing the new brand name Oxandrin. BTG purchased rights to the drug from Searle and it is now manufactured for the new purpose of treating HIV/AIDS related wasting syndrome. Many welcomed this announcement, as Anavar had gained a very favorable reputation among athletes over the years.
Anavar is a mild anabolic with low androgenic activity. Its reduced androgenic activity has much to due 4vith the fact that it is a derivative of dihydrotestosterone. Although you might think at first glance this would make it a more androgenic steroid, it in fact creates a steroid that is less androgenic because it is already "5-alpha reduced". In other words, it lacks the capacity to interact with the 5-alpha reductase enzyme and convert to a more potent "dihydro° form. It is a simply matter of where a steroid is capable of being potentiated in the body, and with oxandrolone we do not have the same potential as testosterone, which is several times more active in androgen responsive tissues compared to muscle tissue due to its conversion to DHT. It essence oxandrolone has a balanced level of potency in both muscle and androgenic target tissues such as the scalp, skin and prostate. This is a similar situation as is noted with Primobolan and Winstrol, which are also derived from dihydrotestosterone yet not known to be very androgenic substances.
This steroid is known as a good agent for the promotion of strength and duality muscle mass gains, although the mild nature of this compound makes it less than ideal for bulking purposes. Among bodybuilders it is most commonly used during cutting phases of training when water retention is a concern. The standard dosage for men is in the range of 15-25mg (6-10 tablets) per day, a level that should produce noticeable results. It can be further combined with anabolics like Primobolan® and Winstrol® to elicit a harder. more defined look without added water retention. Such combinations are very popular and can dramatically enhance the show physique. One can also add strong non-aromatizing androgens like Halotestin®, Proviron® or trenbolone. In this case the androgen really helps to harden up the muscles, while at the same time making conditions more favorable for fat reduction. Some athletes do choose to incorporate oxandrolone into bulking stacks. but usually with standard bulking drugs like testosterone or Dianabol. The usual goal in this instance is an additional gain of strength, as well as more quality look to the androgen bulk. Women who fear the masculinizing effects of many steroids would be quite comfortable using this drug, as this is very rarely seen with low doses. Here a daily dosage of 5mg should illicit considerable growth without the noticeable androgenic side effects of other drugs. Eager females may wish to addition mild anabolics like Winstrol®, Primobolan® or Durabolin®. When combined with such anabolics, the user should notice faster, more pronounced muscle-building effects, but may also increase the likelihood of androgenic buildup.
Studies using low dosages of this compound note minimal interferences with natural testosterone production. Likewise when it is used alone in small amounts there is typically no need for ancillary drugs like Clomid®/Nolvadex® or NCG. This has a lot to do with the fact that it does not convert to estrogen, which we know has an extremely profound effect on endogenous hormone production. Without estrogen to trigger negative feedback, we seem to note a higher threshold before inhibition is noted. But at higher dosages of course, a suppression of natural testosterone levels will still occur with this drug as with any anabolic/androgenic steroid.
This makes clear that while estrogen is important in this regard, androgen action triggers feedback inhibition as well. In the context of the average bodybuilder using this steroid at a level to promote growth, we would probably expect that maintaining a normal level of endogenous testosterone release would likewise be very difficult.
Anavar is also a 17alpha alkylated oral steroid, carrying an alteration that is noted for putting stress on the liver. It is importar7t to point out however that to spite this alteration oxandrolone is generally very well tolerated, While liver enzyme tests will occasionally show elevated values, actual damage due to this steroid is not a statistical problem. Bio-Technology General states that oxandrolone is not as extensively metabolized by the liver as other l7aa orals are; evidenced by the fact that nearly a third of the compound is still intact when excreted in the urine. This may have to do with the understood milder nature of this agent (compared to other l7aa orals) in terms of hepatotoxicity. One study comparing the effects of oxandrolone to other agents including as methyltestosterone, norethandrolone, fluoxymesterone and methAndriol clearly supports this notion45. Here it was demonstrated that oxandrolone causes the lowest sulfobromophthalein (BSP; a marker of liver stress) retention among al! the alkylated orals tested. 20mg of oxandrolone in fact produced 72% less BSP retention than an equal dosage of fluoxyrnesterone, which is a considerable difference being that they possess the same liver-toxic alteration. With such findings, combined with the fact that athletes rarely report trouble with this drug, most feel comfortable believing it to be much safer to use during loner cycles than most of other orals with this distinction. Although this may very well be true, the chance of liver damage still cannot be excluded however.
At one time oxandrolone was also looked at as a possible drug for those suffering from disorders of high cholesterol or trigfycerides. Ear(y studies showed it to be capable of lowering total cholesterol and triglyceride values in certain types of hyperlipidemic patients, which initially this was thought to signify potential for this drug as a hypo-lipid (lipid lowering) agent'°. With further investigation we find however that while use of this drug can be linked to a lowering of total cholesterol values, it is such that a redistribution in the ratio of good (HDL) to bad (LDL) cholesterol occurs, usually moving values in an unfavorable direction4' 48. This would of course negate any positive effect that the drug might have on triglycerides or total cholesterol, and in fact make it a danger in terms of cardiac risk when taken for prolonged periods of time. Today we understand that as a group anabolic/androgenic steroids produce very unfavorable changes in lipid profiles, and are really not useful in disorders of lipid metabolism. As an oral c17 alpha alkylated steroid, oxandrolone is probably even more risky to use than an injectable esterified injectable such as a testosterone or nandrolone in this regard.
On the black market, oxandrolone has always been a hot item. Although it is again being manufactured in the U.S., don't count on seeing it much. The exorbitant price BTG is asking for Oxandrin precludes it from entering the black market in any volume. At the pharmacy, these tablets can cost over $4 each, a tremendous jump from the price Searle was selling It for a decade earlier. Before last year, this left the SPA version from Italy as the only version athletes did see regularly on the black market. They come 30 tabs to a box, in 2 foil and plastic strips of 15 each. The tablets usually sell for $1-2 each, which is much more reasonable than the U.S. item. This is a trusted item, but may still not be the most cost effective at this time. To cash in on the obvious high demand and low supply for this steroid, a 2.5mg version was introduced a little closer to home, Mexico, by the firm Ttokkyo. These guys are working hard to introduce products that bodybuilders, I mean house pets, are going to have a high demand for. The 2.5mg product seemed to do very weil, although more recently they have doubled to dosage on this item to 5mg per tablet. Both versions of the Ttokkyo product are still circulating at this time, come in plastic bottles of 100 tablets each, and offer the most steroid per dollar for a commercial product. Additionally, many athletes have found mail-order sources that carry generic oxandrolone preparations, often in 5mg and l0mg capsules, which may offer even better pricing. Thus far I have seen such drugs produced in Spain, France and Brazil. it is obviously difficult to determine if these are legitimate when purchasing, so there is risk involved.