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Oxandrolone is an oral anabolic steroid derived from dihydrotestosterone. It was designed to have a very strong separation of anabolic and androgenic effect, and no significant estrogenic or progestational activity. Oxandrolone is noted for being quite mild as far as oral steroids are concerned, well tailored for the promotion of strength and quality muscle tissue gains without significant side effects. Milligram for milligram it displays as much as six times the anabolic activity of testosterone in assays, with significantly less androgenicity.402 This drug is a favorite of dieting bodybuilders and competitive athletes in speed/anaerobic performance sports, where its tendency for pure tissue gain (without fat or water retention) fits well with the desired goals.
Oxandrolone is a modified form of dihydrotestosterone. It differs by: 1) the addition of a methyl group at carbon 17-alpha to protect the hormone during oral administration and 2) the substitution of carbon-2 in the A-ring with an oxygen atom. Oxandrolone is the only commercially available steroid with such a substitution to its basic ring structure, an alteration that considerably increases the anabolic strength of the steroid (partly by making it resistant to metabolism by 3-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase in skeletal muscle tissue).
Studies have shown that taking an oral anabolic steroid with food may decrease its bioavailability.411 This is caused by the fat-soluble nature of steroid hormones, which can allow some of the drug to dissolve with undigested dietary fat, reducing its absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. For maximum utilization, this steroid should be taken on an empty stomach.
The original prescribing guidelines for Anavar called for a daily dosage of between 2.5 mg and 20 mg per day (5-10 mg being most common). This was usually recommended for a period of two to four weeks, but occasionally it was taken for as long as three months. The dosing guidelines recommended with the current U.S. production form of the drug (Oxandrin, Savient Pharmaceuticals) also call for between 2.5 and 20 mg of drug per day, taken in intermittent cycles of 2 to 4 weeks. The usual dosage for physique- or performance-enhancing purposes is in the range of 15-25 mg per day, taken for 6 to 8 weeks. These protocols are not far removed from those of normal therapeutic situations.
Oxandrolone is often combined with other steroids for a more dramatic result. For example, while bulking one might opt to add in 200-400 mg of a testosterone ester (cypionate, enanthate, or propionate) per week. The result should be a considerable gain in new muscle mass, with a more comfortable level of water and fat retention than if taking a higher dose of testosterone alone. For dieting phases, one might alternately combine oxandrolone with a non-aromatizing steroid such as 150 mg per week of a trenbolone ester or 200-300 mg of Primobolan® (methenolone enanthate). Such stacks are highly favored for increasing definition and muscularity. An in-between (lean mass gain) might be to add in 200-400 mg of a low estrogenic compound like Deca-Durabolin® (nandrolone decanoate) or Equipoise® (boldenone undecylenate).
The original prescribing guidelines for Anavar did not offer separate dosing recommendations for women, although it was indicated that women who were pregnant, or may become pregnant, should not use the drug. The current guidelines for Oxandrin also do not make special dosing recommendations for women. Women who fear the masculinizing effects of many steroids would be quite comfortable using this drug, as these properties are very rarely seen with low doses. For physique- or performance-enhancing purposes, a daily dosage of 5-10 mg should illicit considerable growth without the noticeable androgenic side effects of other drugs. This would be taken for no longer than 4-6 weeks. Eager females may wish to add another mild anabolic such as Winstrol®, Primobolan® or Durabolin®. When combined with such anabolics, the user should notice faster, more pronounced muscle-building effects, but it may also increase the likelihood of seeing androgenic side effects (or hepatotoxicity in the case of Winstrol).
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Oxandrolone is not aromatized by the body, and is not measurably estrogenic. Oxandrolone also offers no related progestational activity.404 An anti-estrogen is not necessary when using this steroid, as gynecomastia should not be a concern even among sensitive individuals. Since estrogen is the usual culprit with water retention, oxandrolone instead produces a lean, quality look to the physique with no fear of excess subcutaneous fluid retention. This makes it a favorable steroid to use during cutting cycles, when water and fat retention are major concerns. Oxandrolone is also very popular among athletes in strength/speed sports such as sprinting, swimming, and gymnastics. In such disciplines one usually does not want to carry around excess water weight, and may find the raw muscle-growth brought about by oxandrolone to be quite favorable over the lower quality mass gains of aromatizable agents.
Although classified as an anabolic steroid, androgenic side effects are still possible with this substance. This may include bouts of oily skin, acne, and body/facial hair growth. Anabolic/androgenic steroids may also aggravate male pattern hair loss. Women are warned of the potential virilizing effects of anabolic/androgenic steroids. These may include a deepening of the voice, menstrual irregularities, changes in skin texture, facial hair growth, and clitoral enlargement. Oxandrolone is a steroid with low androgenic activity relative to its tissue-building actions, making the threshold for strong androgenic side effects comparably higher than with more androgenic agents such as testosterone, methandrostenolone, or fluoxymesterone.
The low androgenic activity of oxandrolone is due in part to it being a derivative of dihydrotestosterone. This creates a less androgenic steroid because the agent lacks the capacity to interact with the 5-alpha reductase enzyme and convert to a more potent “di-hydro”form. This is unlike testosterone, which is several times more active in androgen responsive target tissues such as the scalp, skin, and prostate (where 5-alpha reductase is present in high amounts) due to its conversion to DHT. In essence, oxandrolone has a more balanced level of potency between muscle and androgenic target tissues. This is a similar situation as is noted with Primobolan and Winstrol, which are also derived from dihydrotestosterone and not known to be very androgenic substances.
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(Source: Anabolics - by Willaim Llewellyn.)