Friday, January 4, 2013


Cytadren, the U.S. brand name for the drug aminoglutethimide, is an interesting drug (non-steroid), first brought to our attention a few years ago by Dan Duchaine. It is most popular among competitive athletes who are drug tested, as this substance is currently not banned or tested for. Cytadren inhibits the production of androgens, estrogens and cortisone (and related) in the body. Medically, this drug is used to treat Cushing’s syndrome, an condition in which the body overproduces cortisone. For athletes with normal blood levels, a little less cortisone could still be a good thing. While androgens give your muscle cells a message to increase protein synthesis, cortisone gives the exact opposite message, to breakdown amino acids. Since Cytadren also inhibits androgen production, it is always used by athletes with some form of testosterone. Together with even a relatively small dose, one could shift the ratio of anabolic to catabolic hormones in favor of the former. Cytadren also effectively inhibits estrogen production and androgen to estrogen conversion. Research is bare as to the best way for athletes to administer Cytadren, but anecdotal evidence suggests that a schedule of 2 days on and 2 days off is effective. One thing is for certain, when used by healthy individuals as an anti-catabolic, Cytadren cannot be taken daily. After a short period of regular use, your body will react to the lowered cortisone levels and release increased amounts of another hormone, ACTH, in response. Increased ACTH will result in your body resuming cortisone production, basically making Cytadren useless. When used medically though, a moderate amount of hydrocortisone is supplemented to avoid this reaction. For athletes however, this would probably be a counterproductive practice. Thus the 2-day on 2 day off regime has been implemented in an attempt to delay or avoid this response. As for the daily dosage, athletes have experimented with anywhere from 1/2 a tablet to 3 tablets per day (250mg), 1 or 2 being most common. Cytadren is not without it’s side effects and warnings, which are numerous. To be very succinct, these include, but are not limited to, the possibility of fatigue, dizziness, sleep disorder, apathy, depression, nausea/vomiting, stomach upset, thyroid dysfunction and liver disease. Athletes also report that the reduced cortisone often brings about more aches in your joints and an increased susceptibility to injury. Currently Cytadren is expensive, around $2 a tab, which is probably why it’s use has not become more wide spread.