Anavar (Oxandrolone)

Overview and History of Anavar

Oxandrolone (AKA Anavar) is an orally administered anabolic steroid, and was one of the anabolic steroids synthesized and created during the anabolic steroid development boom of the 1950s – 1980s. The quest in this anabolic steroid boom was to develop/discover an anabolic steroid that could be ‘perfect’ in the sense that it would provide the user with all of the benefits of the anabolic effects, and none of the undesirable estrogenic or androgenic side effects. Although no anabolic steroids have ever been deemed as the ‘perfect’ and100% safe anabolic steroid, it is known to have come the closest to this idea of the perfect steroid. It was a compound designed to be very mild where side effects are concerned, and was intended for use even in females and children. The details concerning Anavar was first presented and published in 1962[1] under the chemical name Oxandrolone, and a few years afterwards the compound was designed and marketed as a medication by the pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle & Co. Laboratories (now known as Pfizer Inc.) primarily under the brand name Anavar, although Searle did market the product under other several brand names, such as: Lonavar, Lipidex, Antitriol, Anatrophil, and Protivar. Anavar was then marketed and sold in the United States and in various Western European countries. Many of the different brand names Anavar had been marketed as frequently depended on the country/region it was being sold in. Following its release on the market and its medical applications, the anabolic steroid demonstrated great success and had shown that the majority of individuals prescribed Oxandrolone had taken to the drug very well with very few reports of adverse or detrimental reactions. This included patients across vast ages and genders, including men, women, and children.

At first following its release and marketing, Anavar held quite a vast number of legitimate medical applications, such as: the promotion of lean weight gain during catabolic periods (such as illness), trauma recovery, fighting infections, an adjunct to long-term corticosteroid therapy, the promotion of collagen synthesis in the bones of individuals suffering from osteoporosis, and several others. Approximately 18 years following its first release, the FDA had in fact added to the list of medical applications, which included: the promotion of weight gain following periods of atrophy (due to surgery or long periods of bed-ridden inactivity such as a coma), chronic infections, and for weight loss under certain stringent circumstances. Unfortunately, in spite of its continued success, Searle Laboratories had made the decision to discontinue the production and marketing of Anavar on July 1, 1989. This was due in large part to the issue at that time period surrounding anabolic steroid use by athletes, and the decision to discontinue production and sale of anabolic steroids by many different pharmaceutical companies was extremely common during this time for that exact reason of the mass hysteria concerning anabolic steroids. It was not long afterwards until Anavar had been pulled from the market internationally, and during the early 1990s it seemed as though Anavar use and production was at its end. However, Anavar had made reappearance on North American markets in December 1995 under the brand name Oxandrin, manufactured by Bio-Technology General Corp (BTG). At this time, the medical uses had expanded to AIDS-related muscle wasting, alcoholic hepatitis, Turner’s syndrome in females, and for the treatment of growth and pubertal delay in males. Unfortunately, BTG held a monopoly on the drug which lasted for 7 years, and was known for selling Oxandrolone at very inflated prices. Anavar (as Oxandrin) is still sold in North America today.

100% AnavarChemical Characteristics of Anavar

Anavar is a DHT derivative, falling under the family of DHT derived anabolic steroids. As such, it is essentially Dihydrotestosterone with a methyl group attached to the 17th carbon (known as C17 Alpha Alkylation), which is the chemical structural modification that allows the anabolic steroid to survive the first pass through the liver when ingested orally, and allows the anabolic steroid to be more resistant to hepatic metabolism. It also contains a modification at the 2nd carbon of the first cycloalkane ring, whereby the 2nd carbon is removed and replaced with an Oxygen atom. This is what structurally makes it extremely unique among all anabolic steroids, as it is the only anabolic steroid to possess a direct modification (the complete replacement of a carbon atom with a different atom) in its ring structure. It is this modification that is believed to increase the anabolic strength of the hormone in comparison to its parent hormone DHT. One of the methods by which this modification increases Anavar’s anabolic strength (in comparison to DHT) is believed to be an increased resistance to the enzyme 3-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, which is the enzyme highly abundant in muscle tissue that is responsible for the conversion of Dihydrotestosterone into a non-anabolic inactive metabolite. Hence this is the reason as to why Dihydrotestosterone is not anabolic in muscle tissue, as it is essentially deactivated by 3-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase before it can act on androgen receptors in muscle tissue.

Properties of Anavar

Anavar is an anabolic steroid belonging to the Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) family of anabolic steroid derivatives/analogues. Other compounds that belong in this ‘DHT family’ of anabolic steroids include Winstrol, Primobolan, Masteron, as well as several others which are all derivatives of the parent anabolic steroid DHT. The common factor among all of these anabolic steroids is that they are, in one way or another, modified forms of DHT and thus DHT could be considered the ‘parent’ hormone of these anabolic steroids. This androgen itself possesses a distinct favor of anabolic strength over its androgenic strength (as seen by its anabolic rating of 322 – 630 in light of its androgenic rating of 24). In comparison with Testosterone, which has an anabolic:androgenic ratio of 100:100 respectively, it is easily seen that Oxandrolone is far less androgenic and possesses a stronger anabolic strength of at least 3 times the strength of Testosterone, and studies have demonstrated anabolic strength as high as 6 times that of Testosterone with very little accompanying androgenic activity[2]. It also does not possess any measurable estrogenic activity (due to its nature of being a DHT derivative), nor does it hold any Progestogenic activity.

anavar tabletsIt can be easily seen how these characteristics make this compound a favorable compound among athletes and bodybuilders wishing to increase athletic performance, muscle gain, and strength gain where the additional water weight gain is undesired. It is also an anabolic steroid used extensively by bodybuilders wishing to shed body fat and maintain as much muscle as possible during a caloric deficit, where once again extra water weight and possible fat retention/gain is not desired. As one may be able to easily see, Anavar is quite a versatile compound in terms of its uses. For an anabolic steroid commonly touted as being ‘mild’, it actually possesses some very impressive anabolic strength as we can see from Anavar’s anabolic rating of 322 – 630 versus Testosterone’s rating of 100; and when compared to the other popular ‘mild’ anabolic steroid Primobolan, with its anabolic rating of 88, we can see how Anavar is not as ‘mild’ in the sense of anabolic strength as many have made it out to be. In regards to its reported anabolic rating of 322 – 630, the reason why it is given this range as opposed to one solid number for its anabolic rating (such as Trenbolone’s rating of a solid 500 or Testosterone’s rating of a solid 100) is due to Oxandrolone’s nature as an oral anabolic steroid. It is understood that anabolic steroids display a very poor percentage of survivability through liver metabolism when ingested orally. As we know that oral anabolic steroids are modified at the 17th carbon (known as C17 Alpha Alkylation) in order for the anabolic steroid to become more resistant to breakdown in the liver, this grants a very high percentage for anabolic steroids to pass through the liver into the bloodstream, but this does not ensure that 100% of the anabolic steroid makes it through. Some percentage will still be unfortunately lost, and therefore that is the reason why instead of a solid number, a general range is given for many anabolic steroids (mostly oral compounds for the reasons stated, as strength can vary due to liver metabolism).

AnavarOxandrolone (AKA Anavar)
Chemical Name: 17β-hydroxy-17α-methyl-2-oxa-5α-androstane-3-one
Molecular Weight: 
306.44 g/mol
Original Manufacturer: 
Searle Laboratories (now Pfizer Inc.)
Half Life: 
9 hours
Detection Time: 
3 weeks
Anabolic Rating: 
322 – 630    Androgenic Rating: 24


Anavar References:

[1] M. Fox et al. J. Clin Endocrinol Metab 22 (1962):921.

[2] Oxandrolone: A Potent Anabolic Steroid Of Novel Chemical Composition. Fox M, Minot AS, and LIddle GW. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 1962; volume 22, Pgs. 921 – 924.