What is PCT? List of PCT Drugs and mechanism of action
PCT - Post cycle therapy
PCT ("post-cycle therapy") is a set of products and sports supplements that are used in bodybuilding and power sports with the aim to minimize the side effects and complications after a cycle of steroid hormones or Prohormones.
Post-cycle therapy is especially important when high doses of hormones are used or when two or more anabolic drugs were used simultaneously. PCT literally means post-cycle therapy, but for convenience other components were included that are used from the beginning of the cycle and formally are not included in the PCT.
The objectives of post-cycle therapy
- Restoring the natural hormonal levels – preservation of gained muscle mass
- Fighting rollback phenomenon
- Prevention of feminization (gynecomastia).
- Preventing the development of testicular atrophy and oligospermia
- Prevention and reduction of other side effects
Antiestrogens are divided into two classes:
- Aromatase inhibitors (letrozole, anastrozole and others) - during the cycle, used to block estrogen effects if aromatized preparations are applied (Testosterone, Sustanon, Methandrostenolone and extremely small dose of - Boldenone and fluoxymesterone). Many believe that Proviron is a weak aromatase inhibitor.
- Estrogen receptors blockers (Tamoxifen, Clomid) or Toremifene – after the cycle during 2-3 weeks, for recovery of Testosterone secretion. These drugs keep key position, and are very important. Used after the cycle of any complexity.
Chorionic gonadotropin – used to prevent the development of testicular atrophy and desensitization of Leydig cells. Used in heavy cycles that last more than 6 weeks. Administering begins on the 2-4 week of cycle (or on last 3-5 weeks), and extends till the anabolic drug excretion then a transition to the estrogen receptor blockers occurs.
Cabergoline (Dostinex) is an inhibitor of prolactin secretion. Is used in the cycle with progestin drugs (Nandrolone, Trenbolone), which increase prolactin levels, that is responsible for almost all side effects of these drugs. Typically used at a dose of 0.25 mg every 4 days throughout the cycle.
- Testosterone boosters - help to restore hormonal balance.
Treatment begins at the time of complete clearance from steroids and continues after 2-3 weeks, with a gradual decrease of dose.
- Hepatoprotectors - used to protect the liver from toxic effect of some steroids.
Treatment starts at the 2 week of cycle, and ends on the 3 week after cycle. Some people prefer to use them after the cycle.
- Omega-3 – used for the normalization of the lipid profile and cholesterol, protect the heart and blood vessels. Used during whole cycle and 2 weeks after it.
- HGH and Peptides - excellent agents for storing gained muscle mass, which can also ease the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and cardiovascular complications after cycle of Anabolic steroids.
However, preparations of human growth hormone are quite expensive, and therefore not always included in the post cycle therapy. Standard course of human growth hormone used during or after receiving the AAS. Have a look at the construction of the cycle with the Peptides.
- Cortisol blockers - these additives inhibit the catabolism and maximally preserve muscle from destruction. Start of taking these supplements should start in the end of a course of steroids and continue for 3-4 weeks.
Unfortunately, there is no high-performance medication in this category. From mandatory: ascorbic acid, Protein, BCAA.
Zinc drugs and most herbal supplements are not effective. Proviron is not the optimal drug of for the PCT. All components of PCT are compatible with each other. Sometimes, Prohormones are offered as the PCT , but this is not correct, because prohormones are essentially the same steroids. Thus, you extend the cycle, resulting in increase of the risk of complications.
The protocol and dosing of PCT
Post-cycle therapy estrogen blocker is used always and only after the clearance of anabolic hormones, is a key condition for the successful recovery of the hypothalamus-pituitary-testes arc. It is desirable to do analyses of total testosterone, to ensure a low level and only then start taking drugs of this group. According to different authors duration varies from 2 to 5 weeks, depending on the degree of the pituitary suppression.
Clomid dosage (days * dosage)
- 3 * 150/12 * 100/15 * 50/15 * 25 - a very difficult cycle.
- 15 * 100/15 * 50/15 * 25 - a heavy cycle.
- 30 * 50/15 * 25 - the average cycle.
- 15 * 50/15 * 25/15 * 25 (every two days) - light cycle.
- 15 * 50/15 * 25 - oxandrolone, methandrostenolone, methenolone, stanozolol, oral Turinabol (normal).
Toremifene dosage (days * dosage)
- 3 * 120/12 * 60/15 * 30/15 * 15 - a very difficult cycle.
- 15 * 60/15 * 30/15 * 15 - a heavy cycle.
- 30 * 30/15 * 15 - the average cycle.
- 15 * 30/15 * 15/15 * 15 (every two days) - light cycle.
- 15 * 30/15 * 15 - oxandrolone, methandrostenolone, methenolone, stanozolol, oral Turinabol (normal).
- 3 * 80/12 * 40/15 * 20/15 * 10 - a very difficult cycle.
- 15 * 40/15 * 20/15 * 10 - a heavy cycle.
- 30 * 20/15 * 10 - the average cycle.
- 15 * 20/15 * 10/15 * 10 (every two days) - light cycle.
- 15 * 20/15 * 10 - oxandrolone, methandrostenolone, methenolone, stanozolol, oral Turinabol (normal).
- For the prevention of prolactin bursts (after the nandrolone and trenbolone cycle) is used Cabergoline (Dostinex, Alaktin, Agalates, Bergolak), 0.25 mg once every four days for a month;
- Recommended: Vitamin E - 200-400 IU per day in the first month of the PCT, Zinc - 50 mg per day, Tribulus terresteris, 750-1000 mg, based on furastanol saponins.
PCT by Dr. Michael Scally
Post-cycle therapy by Dr. Michael Scally, published in the book William Llewelly's Anabolics 10th edition.. The scheme was developed by doctors from Program for Wellness Restoration (PoWeR) and successfully applied in treatment of hypogonadism after androgen replacement therapy. Efficiency was confirmed with clinical trials. This therapy is recommended after each "heavy" cycle of anabolic steroids, if gonadotropin was not used during the course. The original scheme was renewed in 2010, but by the statements of Dr. Michael Scally has changed slightly. Now it proposed to use gonadotropin at a dose of 2000 mg instead of 2500 for 20 days and 20 mg of tamoxifen.
The total duration of treatment is 45 days.
- 1-20 Day. 10 injections of HCG 2,000 IU a day, before going to bed
- 1-30 days: Clomid (clomiphene citrate) 50 mg, 2 times a day.
- 1-45 days: Nolvadex (tamoxifen citrate) 20 mg, 2 times a day
It should be noted that it’s the most prosperous PCT program, because HCG is involved;
It cannot be used in the PCT in the absence of a real medical condition.
Treatment begins after the clearance of the anabolic drugs.
If HCG was used during the cycle, it is not required as part of FCT as secretory function of the testicles will be saved. 
PCT alternative version
Post-cycle therapy is started after the completion of the action of drugs (need to look on a half-life of the longest drug). Also before the PCT it’s necessary to check the level of estradiol and prolactin. If estradiol is elevated – should be taken aromatase inhibitors to lower estradiol, with increased estradiol recovery will take longer. With increased prolactin need to use Cabergoline, elevated prolactin also will slow down recovery.
Light Cycle; one of the two drugs.
- Tamoxifen 20 days 20mg + 15 days 10 mg
- Clomiphene 20 days 50 mg + 15 days 25 mg
Strong course or the long; one of the two drugs.
- Tamoxifen 20 days 30 mg 15 days + 20 mg + 10 days 10 days
- Clomiphene 20 days 100 mg 15 days + 50 mg + 10 days 25 days
Very strong cycle; all drugs.
- Tamoxifen - 20 days to 30 mg.
- Clomiphene - 20 days 100 mg. + 15 days 50 mg 10 days + 25 mg.
If the in cycle was included a prolactin-enhancing drug then tamoxifen cannot be used.
An example of post-cycle therapy
|Week||Testosterone enanthate||Testosterone propionate||Aromatase inhibitors (Anastrozole)||Gonadotrophin||Tamoxifen||Peptide|
|1||500 mg / week||-||-||-||-||-|
|2||500 mg / week||-||0.5 mg every other day||-||-||-|
|3||500 mg / week||-||0.5 mg every other day||-||-||-|
|4||500 mg / week||-||0.5 mg every other day||-||-||-|
|5||500 mg / week||-||0.5 mg every other day||-||-||-|
|6||500 mg / week||-||0.5 mg every other day||-||-||-|
|7||500 mg / week||-||0.5 mg every other day||-||-||-|
|8||500 mg / week||-||0.5 mg every other day||250 IU, twice per week||-||-|
|9||-||100 mg every other day||0.5 mg every other day||250 IU, twice per week||-||-|
|10||-||100 mg every other day||0.5 mg every other day||250 IU, twice per week||-||-|
Above is a classic Testosterone enanthate cycle with the transition over the past two weeks on testosterone propionate, to maintain a constant level of testosterone. However, adequate pharmacological support can reduce the risk of side effects and significantly improve efficiency.
- Aromatase inhibitors - can eliminate gynecomastia and increase testosterone concentration by blocking the conversion of estrogens.
It is necessary to use a lower dosage to maintain the level of estrogenic hormones within the reference value. Other analogs can be used instead of anastrozole. It is desirable to carry out tests for estrogen, which is determined based on the need to use IA.
- Gonadotropin saves testicular sensitivity to endogenous gonadotropin hormone.
Scientific evidence shows that the use of gonadotropinon on a cycle can significantly increase recovery. In the months of courses used continuously, while experts recommend to do 2x week break after 3-5 weeks of use. However, there is also scientific evidence that the use of HCG on a cycle of steroids is bound to cause an increase of estradiol in the blood to the transcendental level, which in turn will provoke side effects, so most doctors absolutely does not justify the use of gonadotropin during the course of androgens.
- Tamoxifen - the main drug for post-cycle therapy. It starts the secretion of testosterone by blocking estrogen receptors in the pituitary gland, but clomiphene and toremifene are preferred embodiments.
- Growth hormone and peptides - are minor components necessary for the suppression of post-cycle catabolism.
If at the end of the cycle was used short esters rapid half-life (eg, testosterone propionate), or oral medicines, the introduction of gonadotropin and aromatase blockers terminated together with the use of anabolic drug. PCT antiestrogens begins after 3-4 days, when the body's concentration of these agents is reduced to a minimum.
|Week||Nandrolone Decanoate||Testosterone Enanthate||Aromatase Inhibitors (anastrozole)||Cabergoline||Gonadotrophin||Clomiphene (Clomid)|
|1||400 mg / week||500 mg / week||-||-||-||-|
|2||200 mg / week||500 mg / week||0.5 mg every other day||0.25 mg every 4 days||-||-|
|3||200 mg / week||500 mg / week||0.5 mg every other day||0.25 mg every 4 days||-||-|
|4||200 mg / week||500 mg / week||0.5 mg every other day||0.25 mg every 4 days||-||-|
|5||200 mg / week||500 mg / week||0.5 mg every other day||0.25 mg every 4 days||-||-|
|6||200 mg / week||500 mg / week||0.5 mg every other day||0.25 mg every 4 days||250 IU, twice per week||-|
|7||200 mg / week||500 mg / week||0.5 mg every other day||0.25 mg every 4 days||250 IU, twice per week||-|
|8||200 mg / week||500 mg / week||0.5 mg every other day||0.25 mg every 4 days||250 IU, twice per week||-|
|9||-||-||0.5 mg every other day||0.25 mg every 4 days||250 IU, twice per week||-|
|10||-||-||0.5 mg every other day||0.25 mg every 4 days||250 IU, twice per week||-|
- As mentioned above, the progestin preparations - deca, trenbolone have some progestagenic activity, which leads to an increase in prolactin levels, and therefore reduced libido, accumulation of fluid occurs, and prolactin gynecomastia is possible.
- Instead, tamoxifen is recommended to Clomid or the more modern and secure toremifene (FARESTON), due to the fact that tamoxifen increases the sensitivity of progesterone receptors.
- Aromatase blocker is necessary, as a part of the cycle is easily aromatized testosterone.