I recently had the opportunity to speak with a South African doctor about Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) for steroid users coming off of a cycle. My previous thoughts on this topic are probably the most widely published PCT on the internet, but I’m always looking for more information on the topic. It’s a very poorly researched area, and although I think Dr. Michael Scally’s take on this topic is interesting, I can’t help but realize that he has a huge vested financial interest in his PCT program (and as a result, uses exclusively drugs on which the patent has expired).
PCT, as you probably know, is important for A.I.D.S. and Cancer research, as well as for bodybuilders and athletes who are coming off steroids. Really, it is important for any area of medicine which anabolic steroids are used in, because eventually, most people have to come off. Even Jose Canseco.
During the course of my conversation with my new South African friend, he mentioned Ovidrel, which I admitted that I hadn’t heard about before. Essentially, it’s recombinant HCG, or a “next-generation” HCG product. This doctor knew what he was talking about;
it’s much more stable after re-constitution than regular HCG, and seems to have other advantages too.
The thing that really caught my eye was that it’s effects as a stand-alone anabolic and as stand-alone Hormone Replacement Therapy have already been studied:
[Orvidrel]r-hCG significantly increased body weight (approximately 1 kg; P < 0.05) and lean body mass ( approximately 2 kg; P < 0.001) and reduced fat mass (approximately 1 kg, P < 0.05).... Total and free testosterone and estradiol were markedly (150%; P < 0.001) and stably increased...
Of course, the study I looked at was three months long, and by the end of the study, it showed that muscle was gained, fat was lost, and testosterone went up, but it eventually decreased LH and FSH levels, which is the same thing we’d expect from being on regular HCG for three months too. But in truth, r-HCG still seems to have a decided edge over regular HCG for several reasons.
Another study looked at insulin sensitivity and other areas and stated:
We conclude that three-Months of treatment with r-hCG demonstrates expected hormonal effects, improved lipids and did not worsen vascular endothelial function. Insulin sensitivity was not altered despite suggestive changes in body composition. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest short-term metabolic and cardiovascular safety and argue against an important role for androgens in the hormonal control of insulin sensitivity in older men.
It may be time for HCG to be replaced in post-cycle therapy with r-hCG, but as I’ve said, there are very few studies on the topic, and more research is probably needed. Really, there isn’t much scientific data on Post-Cycle Therapy at all, which is a shame because it is very important medically, and not just to illicit steroid users.