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 Drug Research: Bodybuilding Drugs



Triacana belongs to the group of thyroid hormone preparations. Its substance tiratricol is a precursor of the iodiferous thyroid hormone, L-triiodthyronine (L-T3). L-T3, together with another iodiferous thyroid hormone, L-T4 (L-thyroxine), is produced in the thyroid and is the distinctly stronger and more effective of these two hormones. School medicine use Triacana in the treatments of obesity and hyperthyroidism (e.g. Jod-Basedow phenomenon-, goiter). Hyperthyroidism is an abnormal function of the thyroid gland in which the amount of secretion by the thyroid hormone is above average. The thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) stimulates the thyroid gland to produce more L-T3 and L-T4. By the use of Triacana an excessive release of TSH can be avoided.

In the medical arsenal of bodybuilders Triacana has had a firm place since the late 1970's. After all, its lipolytic (fatburning) effect is sufficiently known. This is due to the hypermetabolic state, increased irritability, and especially higher body temperature (generation of heat) during the intake of Triacana. These are factors, which help the competing bodybuilder break down fat more easily. By a caloric intake which is higher than usual it is still possible to obtain a lower body fat content together with good muscle hardness. Although Triacana enjoys the reputation among athletes as a strong and especially effective fatburning thyroid hormone preparation, this preparation is a rather mild, well tolerated and relatively harmless compound. The often-made comparison with the two L-T3 thyroid gland hormone compounds, Cytomel and Thybon, is a poor comparison since Triacana, mi-crogram for microgram, has a considerably lower effect. Even the more moderate L-T4 thyroid hormone drugs such as Synthroid or L-thyroxine are stronger than the substance tiratricol.

In order to achieve a visible fat-reducing effect most athletes must usually take 10-14 tablets/day. Generally, two 0.35 mg tablets are taken on the first day of intake and with two tablets added each successive day until 10-14 tablets/day are taken. The half-life time of tiratricol is 5-7 hours, so Triacana is usually taken 3-4 times daily. This guarantees a constant quantity of the sub-stance in the blood and thus a continued effect. Many athletes, in the meantime, are combining Triacana with Clenbuterol or Ephedrine and report considerably better fat breakdown than when Triacana alone is taken. Among competing female bodybuilders and participants at the Miss Fitness pageant, in particular, the simultaneous administration of 8-10 Triacana tablets/day and 80-100 mcg Clenbuterol/day is a favorite. A series of bodybuilders use Triacana in combination with growth hormones in order to meet the body's increased thyroid hormone need during STH treatment (see chapter "Growth Hormones"). The theoretical approach seems to be correct but Triacana is not an "ideal" thyroid hormone drug. The preparation Thyreocomb from the German Berlin-Chemie Company taken with a combination of the iodiferous L-T3 and L-T4 thyroid hormones would be more suit-able.

As for the duration of application the opinions of athletes vary greatly. Some use Triacana for only 4 weeks, mostly because they are afraid of a thyroid dysfunction. Others take it over a period of months. When looking at the physiological characteristics of the substance tiratricol, it becomes easier to make more accurate indications as to a possible duration of intake and the potential health risks that go along with the use. When taken in a dosage of 0.6 mg/day the reduction in the body's own TSH release can be obtained; with increased dosages it can be completely suppressed. The fear that the TSH release will be continuously disturbed or suppressed after using the medication is with-out reason since this is a reversible, temporary process. 'Already 2-3 weeks after the intake is discontinued the TSH release is completely normalized" (from Vidal 1994, page 1498). With this back-ground knowledge and based on the experiences of several athletes we would choose an intake interval of 10- 12 weeks.

Potential side effects such as palpitations, tremors, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, restlessness, nervousness, and excessive perspiration occur mostly during the first few days of intake. Those who in-crease their dosages slowly and evenly over several days as suggested usually have few problems with Triacana. Toward the end of the intake period a step-by-step reduction in the daily tablet dosage is better than abruptly discontinuing the substance. In summary one can say that Triacana is a (mild) alternative to the strong L-T3 thyroid hormone compounds such as Cytomel or Thybon with their strong side effects. It has only a lower lipolytic effect but can be taken over a prolonged period of time. Mistakes made during the intake are forgiven with Triacana rather than with Cytomel. Ambitious bodybuilders and athletes who are able to responsibly use strong medication choose Cytomel; persons who, however, fear side effects, who do not know much, or believe that "more is better," should select Triacana.


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