Clenbuterol is a potent, long-lasting bronchodilator that is used in some European countries to treat asthma and related lung disorders. However, the drug is also a potent thermogenic agent and can selectively decrease fat and increase lean muscle mass. This property of Clenbuterol has made it a widely abused drug among many individuals. Because of this selective partitioning effect, the drug is widely abused by both amateur and professional athletes around the world.
However, the drug is also quite toxic and has a number of very disturbing cardiac and central nervous system side effects.
Clenbuterol is a beta 2-adrenergic agonist. Stimulation of the beta 2-adrenergic receptors results in smooth muscle relaxation and this property has been widely used to treat asthma (relax bronchial smooth muscles). It has the ability to clear the nasal passages and dilate the bronchus which makes breathing easier. Clenbuterol is very similar to ephedrine or amphetamine in its actions. However, it is much longer lasting than ephedrine. Its sympathetic agonist properties can lead to increased stimulation of the central nervous system, elevate the blood pressure and also has the ability to metabolize body fat and protein.
The ability to dilate the bronchioles and relax smooth muscle has led to its therapeutic use in treating asthma and slowing of premature labor contractions. Other effects of Clenbuterol include increasing the heart rate, muscle tremors, sweating, anxiety, hyperactivity and extreme alertness.
The average daily dose of Clenbuterol is anywhere from 40-160 micrograms. Anything more than 100 micrograms can lead to side effects. Once Clenbuterol is ingested, it is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and remains in the body for 1-2 days. Because of the slowed excretion, the drug can remain the body for a long time and potentate its side effects
In some European countries, Clenbuterol is used for the treatment of asthma. A prescription is required to obtain the drug. It is available as a tablet and syrup. The recommended dosage should not exceed more than 100 ug per day.
In the U.S., Clenbuterol is not approved for clinical use in humans; however, it is approved for use in veterinary medicine. In 1998, the FDA approved a syrup formulation of Clenbuterol-for the treatment of airway obstruction in horses. This product is strictly for use in horses and not for any other animal. Yet illicit use of the drug is common in the farming industry where pigs are fed the drug to make them lean and fleshy.
Off Label Use
Clenbuterol is not a drug of abuse for the regular drug addict who prefers cocaine or heroine. Clenbuterol has a selective clientele- those who are into sports and those who want to lose weight. However, it is a myth to believe that only men abuse Clenbuterol. There is a lot of evidence that female athletes are also heavily involved in the use of Clenbuterol. Unlike other anabolic steroids, the drug does not have any masculanizing effects and is preferred by the females. Many professional athletes have tested positive for Clenbuterol and have faced both suspensions and monetary penalties.
The other individuals who regularly consume Clenbuterol are those who would like to lose weight. The internet is inundated with sites which cater to the hype that Clenbuterol is the ultimate weight loss agent. This has led to the off label use of Clenbuterol as a weight loss drug by many individuals. All the reports of weight loss are anecdotal. Clenbuterol is also widely used by many athletes to decrease body fat and increase lean muscle mass. The abuse of the drug is widespread among high school and college athletes, amateurs and professional athletes. The drug is introduced into an exercise training regimen as a weight loss aid. The majority of people buy the drug from either the health store or obtain it illegally. The majority of these individuals consume an average of 60-100 ug/day. To obtain results quickly, many of the athletes take a cocktail of performance enhancing drugs such as growth hormone, anabolic steroids and various other herbs.
Howerver, there is no scientific evidence that Clenbuterol can help individuals lose weight. Because the body builders and athletes take multiple drugs. it has been very difficult to know which one is responsible for this beneficial effect.
Use in Animals
Unfortunately, Clebuterol is also illegally used by many individuals in the agriculture and farming industry. In Europe and Asia, many farmers frequently inject their animals with Clenbuterol to increase muscle mass. It has been shown that Clebuterol can selectively reduce the fat and increase the lean muscle mass of animals-thus increasing profits. However, there have been several incidences of poisoning in humans who have consumed animals fed Clenbuterol.
Two years ago, there was a major incident in Europe involving pork contaminated with Clenbuterol. Clenbuterol was fed to these animals to reduce the fat and the meat was then sold to consumers. The symptions of Clenbuterol toxicity from having eaten this contaminated meat varied from nausea, vomiting, anixiety palitation and headaches. Since this incident, the FDA and the USDA regularly monitor the urine and tissue samples of livestock from Europe for Clenbuterol.
Many experts in the field of sports medicine agree that Clenbuterol is not very dangerous- at least not like cocaine or amphetamine. For the healthy individual who does not take excessively high doses, the chances of developing a complication are rare. However, those individuals who have a prior heart problem or a fast heart rate should refrain from taking this drug. Often the drug can cause a significant lowering of blood pressure, anxiety and sweating. And in such cases a visit to the hospital is highly recommended. One should be aware that clenbuterol has also been associated with violent behavior, mood changes, depression, paranoia and a few deaths have been reported from damage to the heart.
Clenbuterol is not an acutely dangerous drug. When taken in low doses as recommended, the drug is quite safe. However, all individuals who use this drug should know that they can develop tolerance to the drug- meaning that the same dose of drug will not work if the drug is taken for prolonged periods. To avoid build up of this tolerance, the use of Clenbuterol must be cycled – i.e. 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. This way, one reduces the side effects and lessens the chance of developing complications.
Clenbuterol is widely available in many health and nutrient stores as a health supplement. It comes as a pill, syrup or an injection. Often the drug is smuggled in from Europe and, Mexico where it is approved for clinical use. In Mexico Clenbuterol is prescribed to treat asthma under the trade name Brogen.
Seizures of Clenbuterol by the DEA and law enforcement occur at regular intervals. Many high profile seizures of Clenbuterol have occurred in all states and often occur at sporting events. In some instances, analysis of the drug has revealed that Clenbuterol has also been contaminated with anabolic steroids, growth hormone and even heroine. The cost of Clenbuterol is variable and depends from where you buy it and from whom. In cyberspace, the cost for a 100 pills (40 ug) is about $100-$ 125.
Clenbuterol does show up in the urine soon after ingestion and can remain in the body for a few days. There is some scientific data which suggests that Clenbuterol is never completely eliminated from the body and minute amounts do remain in the liver and the corneal tissues. Animal fed Clenbuterol have shown residual drug in the eyes 5-6 months after the treatment was stopped.
Clenbuterol is not a prescribed drug in the USA. It is widely available as a weight loss supplement in many health and food stores. However, for all athletes, the drug is banned by most sports organization including the IOC. Many professional sports athletes have been penalized recently for the use of this drug.