An intrinsically weak steroid with a high price-tag and low availability, oxandrolone owes its large popularity due to its safety. In sharp contrast to oxymetholone, oxandrolone is quite generally considered to be the safest of all steroids. Its effects are more than well-documented and have been for a few decades now. The medical community values oxandrolone as a safe alternative for more harmful steroids, which is why it is considered safe for use in children and even in patients suffering hepa-toxicity as the result of alternate steroid use.
It's most noted medical use has been in the expediting of wound healing often practically applied to the treatment of burns. But recently its gaining popularity again as a means of keeping weight on HIV-infected patients suffering from wasting due to the immuno-deficiency virus. It was also considered safe for use in prepubescent children with a growth delay7. No major harmful effects were noted from this particular therapy, eventhough one study reported that the use of oxandrolone did speed up the onset of puberty in these children. Furthermore oxandrolone has found frequent applications in the treatment of other wasting symptoms for hepatitis and cancer as well as the treatment of osteoporosis in both men and women of all ages.
Oxandrolone was introduced in the year 1964, when Searle came out with the original Anavar. It quickly became the popular drug in the sports crowd for people looking for a safer alternative to the major steroid at the time, Dianabol (methandrostenolone). It remained one of the best-sellers for well over 2 decades until it was indefinitely discontinued in the year 1989. Much to the regret of the recreational bodybuilding and powerlifting community. The prices have remained high for the little stock that remained available. The only brand readily found was oxandrolone SPA, manufactured in Milano, Italy. That is, until 1995 when its use in the treatment of the then vastly spreading immuno-deficiency disease AIDS9 sparked the interest of BTG, a US-based company who came out with Oxandrin. The first widely available oxandrolone product since Anavar production was stopped.
The main reasons for the wide-spread use of oxandrolone in sports is because it is very appealing to female athletes as well as male athletes. It causes little or no virilization properties, demonstrated by its medical uses to treat women. This is rather surprising since oxandrolone does not aromatize either. It's the only steroid that is both safe and convenient without producing excess estrogen. That makes it particularly useful when cutting up for a contest or preventing an increase in body-fat due to estrogenic effects. In fact the main use of oxandrolone to a bodybuilder is in the maintenance of lean mass while reducing body-fat. Oxandrolone itself may not actually reduce body-fat, but it too plays a key role in the process. Like most non-aromatizing compounds it has a repressing effect on the appetite making it easier for the user to control cravings and stay strict with his diet.
Oxandrolone also has little effect on the body's own natural hormone production. The negative feedback was found to be very minor, meaning that during short term use no suppression of Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH, start of natural testosterone production) was noted. This meant that whatever gains made, as little as they may have been, were very easily maintained post-cycle. So there was also no use for products like Clomid or Nolvadex in conjunction with oxandrolone consumption. The easy to maintain low gains would indicate a low binding to the androgen receptor. While not extremely high, it should actually be noted that it does have quite decent binding to the androgen receptor. But the reason for its mild effects is quite likely the low dose used. Rarely if ever are doses higher than 20 mg used on a daily basis. Either because of convenience or due to the high price. But comparing that the doses of other steroids this is remarkably low. So its only logical the gains and side-effects aren't particularly notable.
Of course a bodybuilder has limited use for a compound that is both a weak androgen in the doses mostly used and doesn't aromatize since no mentionable effect on mass can be produced to satisfy the chemically enhanced athlete. Therefor it is best noted that oxandrolone is most popular with power- and weightlifters to enhance strength without increasing bodyweight. This is valued highly since strength athletes often compete in weight-classes. Oxandrolone does not increase strength through androgenic stimulation, at least not primarily. It stimulates the formation of phosphocreatine, a body compound that can replenish ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) , the main energy currency of the living organism. This gives an incredible increase in short term anaerobic performance, the type needed for explosive action such as sprinting and lifting weight.
For bodybuilders the best results are seen when stacking oxandrolone with a highly androgenic compound. Either during a mass stack with aromatizable products to boost strength a little more, or in conjunction with a non-estrogenic compound. This is most beneficial since it can maintain lean mass, decrease appetite, improve sharpness of the muscle and keep strength levels up without giving increased androgenic risk (acne, prostate hypertrophy, hair loss) when stacked with pure androgens (stanozolol, drostanolone). For those looking for safe maintenance of muscle mass a stack of Anavar with Primobolan is not a bad investment (but a big investment). The common use of oxandrolone is estimated, at 0.125 mg per pound of bodyweight. For men it should be closer to 0.2 mg per pound, for women 0.08 mg per pound per day.
The downsides to oxandrolone are minor. The worst problem by far is the poor availability and high price. But it has to be noted that, eventhough oxandrolone is nowhere near Halotestin or anadrol in hepa-toxicity, it too is a 17-alpha-alkylated substance that can cause liver damage if used for long periods on end. Other common side-effects include headaches, loss of libido, diarrhea and dizziness.
The conclusion to follow these paragraphs is of course that oxandrolone is understandably still a popular and very versatile steroid, much desired by both experienced athletes and novice users because of its many properties. While few will say this is the best or their favorite steroid, you won't find many that will have anything negative to say about it either.
Because of its mild nature and the low doses generally used with oxandrolone there is very little use for secondary compounds like anti-aromatase drugs, estrogen receptor antagonists or blood pressure medication. That in itself may somewhat make up for the high cost and little gains made on it.
In stacks Anavar is sometimes used to increase strength or help maintain it during mass phases. Oxandrolone obviously has very little to add in terms of mass compared to the other substances used to obtain such goals. It fades in comparison to test, Deca, Anadrol, D-bol and such. Nonetheless it is added quite often, perhaps because people assume it will make the overall stack less hazardous, but that's a myth of course. Frankly I would imagine there are better and cheaper things to waste your money on if mass is what you seek.
On a cutting phase oxandrolone makes a good match for 120-140 mcg of clenbuterol daily stacked with something in the nature of Halotestin or Winstrol. The combination improves muscle hardness and striation as well as support mass and strength retention. Experienced users would preferably add testosterone propionate or Equipoise no doubt, rather than Halotestin or Winstrol due to less hazard to the liver associated with those two drugs, especially Halotestin.
Mostly it is used for decent strength gains without gaining too much weight, particularly suited for weight- and powerlifters and martial artists. In that aspect, and in my humble opinion, Winstrol would be a good choice for a stack. 50 mg of Winstrol every day to every other day stacked with 30-40 mg of oxandrolone daily would give a very good result in overall strength enhancement without adding a mentionable amount of weight to the frame.