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