Because the ultimate goal of a steroid cycle is to increase strength and muscle size, the associated spike in estrogen which accompanies steroids such as Testosterone is considered undesirable. In order to disassociate the two effects, two classes of drug are used. Medications such as Nolvadex or Clomid target the estrogen receptors. They make it more difficult for the estrogen to exert it’s influence within the body thus allowing the testosterone to act more freely. The second class is aromatase inhibitors such as Femara. They target the aromatase enzyme itself in order to prevent the production of estrogen in the first place. Sometimes, it’s not always clear which option you should go with or even what the differences are between the two. Lets clear that up a little.
In androgen-responsive target tissues such as the skin, scalp, and prostate, the high relative androgenicity of testosterone is dependant on its reduction to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The 5-alpha reductase enzyme is responsible for this metabolism of testosterone. The concurrent use of a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor such as finasteride or dutasteride will interfere with site-specific potentiation of testosterone action, lowering the tendency of testosterone drugs to produce androgenic side effects. It is important to remember that both anabolic and androgenic effects are mediated via the cytosolic androgen receptor. Complete separation of testosterone’s anabolic and androgenic properties is not possible, even with total 5-alpha reductase inhibition.
Testosterone, like many anabolic steroids, was classified as a controlled substance in 1991. Testosterone is administered parenterally in normal and delayed-release (depot) forms. In September 1995, the FDA approved testosterone transdermal patches (Androderm), and many transdermal forms and brands are now available including implants, gels, and topical solutions. A testosterone buccal system, Striant, was FDA-approved in July 2003; Striant is a mucoadhesive product that adheres to the buccal mucosa and provides a controlled and sustained release of testosterone. In May 2014, the FDA approved an intranasal gel formulation of testosterone (Natesto). A transdermal patch (Intrinsa) for hormone replacement in women is under investigation; the daily dosages used in women are much lower than for products used in males. The FDA refused approval for Intrinsa in 2004 stating that more data regarding safety, especially in relation to cardiovascular and breast health, were required.