While SERMS like Nolvadex and Clomid are commonly used during the steroid cycle and for post cycle therapy (PCT), to inhibit, or block, a certain amount of estrogen from binding to the receptors, Arimidex works in a different way. Actually the first two drugs mentioned there are sometimes mistakenly referred to as anti-estrogen compounds, whereas Arimidex fits this description far more accurately.
The drug’s chemical name is Anastrozole, and is of interest to bodybuilders who are using steroids, due to the high rate that these substances aromatize (convert) to estrogen. There are unwanted side effects to the aromatization effect, not the least of which is the development of male breast tissue, a condition known as Gynecomastia.
Anastrozole’s was originally developed to be used to combat breast cancer (predominantly in females but also some rare male cases) because one of the main causes of the disease is an overabundance of estrogen. Essentially, the drug works to block the synthesis of estrogen and inhibits the conversion of androgens (e.g. testosterone) to it as well.
Aromatization of Steroids
All synthetic steroids are derivatives in one way or another of the original steroid testosterone. Too much testosterone and of course many of the more androgenic steroids will convert to estrogen. This is called aromatization, and can cause many problems, especially in men. Gynecomastia, water retention, emotional problems and diminished functional activity of the testicles are some of the secondary negative effects that can come with the increase in estrogen levels.
To combat this to some degree during and after the steroid cycle, the user can take drugs like Nolvadex (brand name of Tamoxifen) or Clomid, which are classed as SERMs (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator) which basically blocks a lot of estrogen from binding to receptors, specifically those located on breast tissue. SERMs do not however do a complete job and there is merit in inhibiting the aromatization process at source as a preventative measure. The SERMs will then do a much better job of ‘mopping up’ more of what gets through.
This is where Arimidex (brand name of Anastrozole) comes in.
Some estrogen is necessary for a healthy functioning body, and indeed tissue growth, therefore too much inhibition can lead to further problems. Anastrozole is proficient at what it does – which is to arrest the synthesis of estrogen via inhibiting the aromatization of the androgens in tissue – and so it has been found to overdo it slightly and cause other problems for the user in question. For this reason it is usually only used in small doses during the cycle and stopped before PCT begins.
The SERMs are continued through PCT, but the combination of those and the Anastrozole could wind up causing more harm than good.
Unwanted Side Effects of Anastrozole
Bone weakness is a particular concern with Arimidex usage, especially for bodybuilders due to its counterproductive nature. Women who were prescribed it after being on a SERM like Tamoxifen to combat breast cancer had more reported bone fractures while on the Arimidex.
The other main problem – over-reduction of estrogen levels – is perhaps dose dependant but is still a concern with people who do not understand completely what they are doing with steroids and related drugs. The self-treatment aspect of steroids, due to legality constraints, is one of the major causes of misuse. Not all bodybuilders that use them have sufficient knowledge of how to.
It’s always interesting to hear guys talk the talk about using steroids, and exactly what is entailed with proper administration of them is rarely fully understood by amateur bodybuilders. Even if someone knows to take a certain course of drugs and when to take them – because they have been directed how to by the same black market connection that dealt them the stuff – they most likely would not know what to do if something got out of control. For example, would they know what dosages to reduce or raise if they started getting a severe case of gynecomastia? Because just stacking a SERM with higher doses of Arimidex could get them into a worse situation. There is no point replacing on problem with another.
We advise against using steroids or related drugs such as Anastrozole, unless a doctor has prescribed them for a specific reason, which you can be rest assured will not be for the purposes of bodybuilding.
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