Orabolin — ethylestrenol

Ethylestrenol is an oral anabolic steroid derived from nandrolone. As is typical for many 19- nor steroids, this agent exhibits far greater anabolic properties than androgenic, is only weakly estrogenic, and is strongly progestational. Structurally, ethylestrenol most closely resembles Nilevar (norethandrolone). The two differ only by the absence of an oxygen atom at the c3 position of ethylestrenol, and in the body ethylestrenol actually has a notable affinity to convert to norethandrolone. This path of metabolism is responsible for much of the anabolic, androgenic, and estrogenic activity we see with this compound, and in most regards ethylestrenol can be viewed as a pro-drug to norethandrolone. Although ethylestrenol is strongly anabolic relative to its androgenicity, athletes generally find this steroid to be extremely weak. The level of muscle growth obtained with this steroid is generally much less noticeable than that expected with either Nilevar or Deca-Durabolin, and it is considerably less effective than both stanozolol and oxandrolone on a milligram for milligram basis.

Brand name Orabolin, Ethylestrenol, Maxibolin, Orgabolin, Durabolin-O, Durabolin-Oral, Maxibolin elixir, Fertabolin
Androgenic 20-400
Anabolic 20-400
Standard Methyltestosterone (oral)
Chemical Names 19-Nor-17alpha-pregn-4-en-17b-ol
17alpha-ethly-estr-4-en-17b-ol
Estrogenic Activity low
Progestational Activity high

Ethylestrenol History

Ethylestrenol was first described in 1959. It was developed into an oral medicine by Organon (now Merck/MSD), appearing in most markets between 1961 and 1964. Organon sold the tablets under the trade name Maxibolin in the U.S., and as Orabolin, Orgabolin, and Durabolin-O in other markets. The latter name is a compressed form of “Durabolin-Oral,” noting that the drug is an oral cousin to Durabolin (nandrolone phenylpropionate). Organon also produced oral ethylestrenol solutions, such as Maxibolin Elixir (U.S.) and Fertabolin (India, Philippines). Ethylestrenol was initially indicated for several uses, mainly focused on preserving lean mass. Early U.S. product literature states,“… along with a good dietary regimen, Maxibolin promotes tissue-building and weight gain, stimulation of appetite and sense of wellbeing, renewal of vigor, is an aid in bone matrix reconstruction and in combating the depression and weakness of chronic illness or prolonged convalescence. It can also prevent or reverse certain catabolic effects associated with corticosteroid therapy.”

Ethylesterenol became a steroid of great controversy during the early 1980’s, when Western media attention was given to the marketing of the drug to malnourished children in Third- World markets such as India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. Advertising on Fertabolin in India claimed the drug would “help children gain full weight and height,” “simulates physiological appetite,” and “ensures optimal assimilation of food.” It also described a “delicious [raspberry] syrup flavor children love.” The main point of contention was the promotion of an anabolic steroid to treat the lack of adequate food supply, the real issue at hand. Many viewed Organon’s actions as potentially dangerous and highly unethical, and the company soon discontinued Fertabolin and related marketing practices. Maxibolin and Maxibolin Elixir were voluntarily withdrawn from the U.S. market during the late 1980’s as well, and most Western ethylestrenol products from Organon soon followed. Today, Merck/MSD retains only a limited interest in the drug. Ethylestrenol is currently a rare find, as it is only manufactured (as a generic drug or under other brand names) is a select few countries.

How is Ethylestrenol Supplied

Ethylestrenol is available in select human and veterinary drug markets. Composition and dosage may vary by country and manufacturer, but typically contains 2mg of steroid per tablet. Oral solutions have also been produced in the past, such as Maxibolin Elixir, which contained 2mg/5 mL in a 4 ounce bottle. Fertabolin for children contained .2mg/2 mL of solution.

Structural Characteristics of Ethylestrenol

Ethylestrenol is a modified form of nandrolone. It differs by: 1) the addition of an ethyl group at carbon 17-alpha to protect the hormone during oral administration and 2) the removal of the 3-oxygen.

Ethylestrenol Side Effects (Estrogenic)

Ethylestrenol is aromatized by the body, and converts to a synthetic estrogen with a high level of biological activity (17alpha-ethyl-estradiol). Rate of aromatization is so low, however, that it remains classified as a weakly estrogenic steroid. Gynecomastia is possible during treatment, but generally only when higher doses are used. Water and fat retention can also become issues, again depending on dose. Sensitive individuals may need to addition an antiestrogen such as Nolvadex. One may alternately use an aromatase inhibitor like Arimidex (anastrozole), which is a more effective remedy for estrogen control. Aromatase inhibitors, however, can be quite expensive in comparison to standard estrogen maintenance therapies, and may also have negative effects on blood lipids.

It is of note that ethylestrenol has strong activity as a progestin in the body. The side effects associated with progesterone are similar to those of estrogen, including negative feedback inhibition of testosterone production and enhanced rate of fat storage. Progestins also augment the stimulatory effect of estrogens on mammary tissue growth. There appears to be a strong synergy between these two hormones here, such that gynecomastia might even occur with the help of progestins without excessive estrogen levels being present. The use of an anti-estrogen, which inhibits the estrogenic component of this disorder, is often sufficient to mitigate gynecomastia caused by this steroid.

Ethylestrenol Side Effects (Androgenic)

Although classified as an anabolic steroid, androgenic side effects are still common with this substance. This may include bouts of oily skin, acne, and body/facial hair growth. Anabolic/androgenic steroids may also aggravate male pattern hair loss. Individuals sensitive to the androgenic effects of this steroid may find a milder anabolic such as Deca-Durabolin to be more comfortable. Women are additionally warned of the potential virilizing effects of anabolic/androgenic steroids. These may include a deepening of the voice, menstrual irregularities, changes in skin texture, facial hair growth, and clitoral enlargement.

Note that in androgen-responsive target tissues such as the skin, scalp, and prostate, the relative androgenicity of ethylestrenol is reduced by its reduction to weaker “dihidyo” metabolites. The 5-alpha reductase enzyme is responsible for this metabolism. The concurrent use of a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor such as finasteride or dutasteride will interfere with site-specific reduction of ethylestrenol action, increasing the tendency of the drug to produce androgenic side effects. Reductase inhibitors should be avoided with this steroid if maintaining low relative androgenicity is desired.

Ethylestrenol Side Effects (Hepatotoxicity)

Ethylestrenol is a c17-alpha alkylated compound. This alteration protects the drug from deactivation by the liver, allowing a very high percentage of the drug entry into the bloodstream following oral administration. C17-alpha alkylated anabolic/androgenic steroids can be hepatotoxic. Prolonged or high exposure may result in liver damage. In rare instances life-threatening dysfunction may develop. It is advisable to visit a physician periodically during each cycle to monitor liver function and overall health. Intake of c17-alpha alkylated steroids is commonly limited to 6-8 weeks, in an effort to avoid escalating liver strain. Severe liver complications are rare given the periodic nature in which most people use oral anabolic/androgenic steroids, although cannot be excluded with this steroid, especially with high doses and/or prolonged administration periods.

The use of a liver detoxification supplement such as Liver Stabil, Liv-52, or Essentiale Forte is advised while taking any hepatotoxic anabolic/androgenic steroids.

Ethylestrenol Side Effects (Cardiovascular)

Anabolic/androgenic steroids can have deleterious effects on serum cholesterol. This includes a tendency to reduce HDL (good) cholesterol values and increase LDL (bad) cholesterol values, which may shift the HDL to LDL balance in a direction that favors greater risk of arteriosclerosis. The relative impact of an anabolic/androgenic steroid on serum lipids is dependant on the dose, route of administration (oral vs. injectable), type of steroid (aromatizable or non-aromatizable), and level of resistance to hepatic metabolism. Ethylestrenol has a strong effect on the hepatic management of cholesterol due to its structural resistance to liver breakdown and route of administration. Anabolic/androgenic steroids may also adversely affect blood pressure and triglycerides, reduce endothelial relaxation, and support left ventricular hypertrophy, all potentially increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and myocardial infarction.

To help reduce cardiovascular strain it is advised to maintain an active cardiovascular exercise program and minimize the intake of saturated fats, cholesterol, and simple carbohydrates at all times during active AAS administration. Supplementing with fish oils (4 grams per day) and a natural cholesterol/antioxidant formula such as Lipid Stabil or a product with comparable ingredients is also recommended.

Ethylestrenol Side Effects (Testosterone Suppression)

All anabolic/androgenic steroids when taken in doses sufficient to promote muscle gain are expected to suppress endogenous testosterone production. Without the intervention of testosterone-stimulating substances, testosterone levels should return to normal within 1-4 months of drug secession. Note that prolonged hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism can develop secondary to steroid abuse, necessitating medical intervention.

Ethylestrenol Administration (General)

Studies have shown that taking an oral anabolic steroid with food may decrease its bioavailability. This is caused by the fat-soluble nature of steroid hormones, which can allow some of the drug to dissolve with undigested dietary fat, reducing its absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. For maximum utilization, this steroid should be taken on an empty stomach.

Ethylestrenol Administration (Men)

Original prescribing guidelines recommend a dosage of 4 mg to 8 mg per day, taken for no more than 6 consecutive weeks. After a break for 4 weeks, the drug is resumed for an additional 6 weeks if indicated. When used for physique- or performance-enhancing purposes, a daily dosage of 20 mg to 40 mg is most common, which equates to ten to twenty 2mg tablets.The drug is typically used in cycles lasting no longer than 6-8 weeks, in an effort to minimize hepatic strain. This level is sufficient for some measurable gains in muscle size and strength, although experienced steroid users are likely to still be disappointed with the results. Instead of increasing the dosage, most opt to add a second steroid to the cycle, usually an injectable such as testosterone cypionate or enanthate, boldenone undecylenate, or methenolone enanthate (usually at a dose of 200-400 mg per week), which do not provide additional liver toxicity.

Ethylestrenol Administration (Women)

Original prescribing guidelines recommend a dosage of 4 mg to 8mg per day, taken for no more than 6 consecutive weeks. After a break for 4 weeks, the drug is resumed for an additional 6 weeks if indicated. When used for physique- or performance-enhancing purposes, a daily dosage of 10 mg to 16 mg is most common, taken for no longer than 4 weeks.This level seems to be fairly effective for promoting new muscle growth. Higher doses are likely to produce virilizing side effects, and are not recommended. Note that virilizing side effects are still sometimes noticed at lower doses.

Ethylestrenol Availability

Pharmaceutical preparations containing ethylestrenol remain scarce. In reviewing some of the remaining products and changes in the global pharmaceutical market, we have made the following observations.

At the present time, the legitimate supply of ethylestrenol appears to be isolated to Australia, where it is found in a small number of veterinary compounds including Nandoral tablets and Nitrotain paste.

Bodybuilders reference

This is an oral AAS once popular with female athletes known under the trade name Maxibolin. (Now discontinued under this name) The substance is an alteration of the estrogenic/androgenic hormone Progesterone and is a 19-Nortestosterone (Nandrolone) derivative as well. Since Orabolin is a weak anabolic/very low androgenic steroid, most athletes erroneously dismissed its value. Orabolin does not have a high affinity (attraction/absorption) for androgen receptors. So used alone in the average reported administered dosages the drug did not provide much in the way of results. However, when it was combined with other steroids such as Deca Durabolin (or other Nandrolones), Parabolan, and/or Winstrol, the results were of a high quality muscle which was well retained after use was discontinued.

Women reported a high quality lean muscle mass augmentation resulted when 10- 16mg of Orabolin (divided into 2-3 equal daily dosages) was stacked with 50-100-mg Durabolin or Deca Durabolin weekly. Males reported requiring as much as 60-100 mg daily of Orabolin to achieve good results. Unfortunately that high of a dosage would create several negative side effects including bankruptcy.

Anabolic Steroid Guide reference

Orabolin is an unusual steroid since its substance is a precursor of the female hormone progesterone. Technically it is a derivative of 19-nortestosterone. Orabolin is a very weak, oral steroid which is not very suitable for the buildup of strength and muscle mass. It is a steroid with a mostly anabolic effect that has only very low androgenic characteristics. Athletes who have taken Orabolin as their only steroid were mostly disappointed by its effect. In combination with steroids such as Winstrol, Parabolan, Masteron and Orabolin it leads to a high-quality muscle gain which remains after discontinuing the use of the product. Orabolin, however, is more a steroid for female athletes. Virilization symptoms in dosages under 12-16 mg/day are rare and the fact that Orabolin is derived from the female hormone progesterone should also remove moral and ethical doubts. Since the tablets are not I 7-alpha alkylated, liver toxicity is relatively low. However, in high dosages and over long intervals of intake it is possible that certain liver values will increase. Orabolin aromatizes only slightly so that estrogenic-caused side effects are rarely expected. Athletes report minimal water retention. Some bodybuilders use Orabolin shortly before a championship since it slightly increases the blood pressure, resulting in a higher vascularity.

Orabolin requires a relatively high daily dosage since the substance is very poorly absorbed by the steroid receptors in the muscle cell. Twenty or more tablets a day could have a certain effect but prob-ably will also lead to several side effects. This is apart from the fact that such a large amount of tablets will cost the athlete quite. a few dollars. You can turn this around as much as you like but malt athletes only profit from taking Orabolin if the daily dosage is at least 20 to 40 mg. Since Orabolin is as expensive as Oxandrolone and the Winstrol tablets but less effective, almost nobody shows interest in this compound. This is also the reason why it is rarely found on the black market. Due to its low demand there are no fakes.

Newbies Research Guide reference

This is a low androgenic oral steroid, which is derived from 19-nortestosterone. This drug is popular with women who favor its high anabolic properties. Some athletes felt this drug was quite effective for quality muscle gains especially when stacked with other steroids. Water retention and aromatisation are minimal. The drug is moderately toxic to the liver in high dosages. It is rarely used in the U.S. anymore. Those who do take it claim high dosages are necessary for results; from 20mg to 40mg daily.

References

Wlliam Llewellyn (2011) - Anabolics
L. Rea (2002) - Chemical Muscle Enhancement Bodybuilders Desk Reference
Anabolic Steroid Guide
Newbies Research Guide

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