Testosterone propionate like Testosterone Cypionate and enanthate is a widely used steroid by many bodybuilders. The major difference between testosterone propionate and other formulations is the onset and duration of response.
In essence, testosterone is much faster acting and is released from the injected site within 3-4 days. Once absorbed into the blood stream it remains for 24-48 hours. This shorter duration of action compared to the other testosterone formulations also results in lesser side effects.
There is no change in its potency and it works both as a mild anabolic and a moderate androgenic drug.
One should understand that the effects of testosterone propionate are a little faster compared to the other analogues of testosterone but not by much.
Most bodybuilders will see an affect within 3-5 weeks after use. There is no anabolic steroid or magical drug that can help you build the body in less than 3-4 weeks. While the dealers of this drug make a big fuss about it, one should not forget that the side effects of all testosterone analogues can appear if used for a long time. It is recommended that one not use any testosterone product for more than 4-6 weeks at a time.
Testosterone is responsible for the normal growth and development of the male sex organs and for the maintenance of the secondary sexual characteristics. The drug can affect the growth of the prostate, testis, seminal vesicles, penis and scrotum and also is important for body growth. Even though testosterone is an androgenic hormone, it does posses anabolic properties. Its use has been shown to promote protein synthesis and a positive nitrogen balance in the presence of a rich calorie diet.
Testosterone also has the ability to cause a mild increase in the production of red blood cells by stimulating the synthesis of EPO from the kidney. This results in an increase in the red blood cells and hence an increase in the oxygen carrying capacity.
When testosterone is taken for prolonged periods, it inhibits the release of Gonadotropins from the pituitary gland through a negative feedback mechanism. At large doses, it can even inhibit spermatogenesis.
Testosterone propionate is released much faster after an intramuscular injection and stays in the body for up to 48-72 hours. It can be detected the urine for a lot longer period. The formulation comes as an esterified preparation of testosterone which is only meant to be administered by an intramuscular injection. The esterification of the testosterone increases the duration of action of the testosterone. The preparation comes in a colorless to mild yellow suspension of sesame oil. There are many athletes who complain that injection of testosterone propionate into the buttock area is painful. This pain may be due to injection of large amounts of the drug or the development of an abscess. It is best to use a low volume of the drug for injection and rotate to the site to prevent abscess formation.
The recommended dose of testosterone propionate for the novice bodybuilder is about 50 mg/ day. There are others who start off at 50-100mg/ day. And yet there are others who combine the various testosterone formulations in a cocktail. The duration of testosterone treatment should be limited to 4-6 weeks to allow for the hypothalamic-pituitary axis and testes to recover.
During the washout phase of the drug, many athletes take Nolvadex ( tamoxifen) to prevent the estrogenic side effects of the testosterone.
Testosterone propionate is used in some European countries to treat disorders where testosterone is either deficient or absent. These conditions include:
- primary hypogonadism- where the testes has been injured and fails to make the testosterone
- hypogonadism due to failure of the pituitary gland to release of Gonadotropins
- delayed puberty
- increase weight in cachetic hospitalized individual
In most cases of testosterone deficiency, therapy is required for a long time until the secondary sexual characteristic have been developed and the growth is adequate.
The treatment of all individuals with testosterone propionate depends on age, sex, diagnosis and the response to treatment- and the onset of adverse effects. Testosterone propionate should always be injected in the buttock muscles and not simply underneath the skin. The injection site should be rotated to prevent abscess formation. Another option is to inject the drug on the outside of the thigh. The drug should never be administered intravenously.
The dose of testosterone propionate should not exceed more than 100-400 mg per month because of the onset of side effects. The drug should always be inspected before injection. It is usually a colorless-yellow suspension which is clear. Any particulate matter or clumping indicates that the product is expired or inactive. The duration of treatment varies from 1-2 months.
The drug should be stored at room temperature.
A lot of bodybuilders use testosterone propionate during the off season. The drug stays in the body for a long time and it is advisable not to use it during the active sports season. The drug definitely has anabolic and androgenic properties. However, the effects of the drug are not immediate and may take at least 3-4 weeks to become evident. Many bodybuilders also use other anabolic hormones like GH/thyroxin in combination. Because testosterone is also converted to estrogen in the fatty tissues, many bodybuilders develop breast enlargement and retain water. The dose used to increase muscle mass and strength is about 25- 400 mg/week. However, at the higher doses the drug has potent side effects and it is highly recommended that all beginners start off with the low dose.
The increase in protein mass is gradual but does occur. Because the steroid also stimulates red blood cell production, many bodybuilders also notice that they have an increased capacity to perform under intense exercise conditions.
Testosterone propionate is preferred by most bodybuilders but it is not readily available. The drug has been claimed to promote good health, increase exercise performance and leads to a positive nitrogen balance. There are reports that it also selectively decreases fat and increases muscle mass. Sometimes the water retention can be quite dramatic and some individuals do take a diuretic pill to remove it.
To prevent the breast enlargement, testosterone propionate is cycled with drugs like Arimidex or Tamoxifen. Most individuals take the testosterone for 4-6 weeks and then stop for a few weeks. During this wash out phase, one may use Arimidex.
All testosterone analogues have the potential to cause virilizing effects when the duration of use is prolonged. In females, these virilizing signs may be deepening of voice, excessive hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles, mood alterations and clitoral enlargement. It is recommended that at the first sign of virilizing symptoms the drug should be stopped. The reason for this is that some of the virilizing signs may not be reversible even after discontinuation of the steroid.
Like all anabolic steroids, testosterone propionate has a few side effects. These side effects are generally mild and well tolerated. The majority of individuals do see some side effects after 2-4 months of therapy. The most common side effects include:
- irregular menstrual cycles
- virilizing effects
- deepening voice
- clitoral enlargement
- painful penile erections
- hair loss, acne oily skin
- retention of body water
- nausea, vomiting, jaundice
- liver cancer (rare)
- mental changes, depression, headaches, anxiety,
- increased serum cholesterol
While most of these side effects are reversible, the breast enlargement and some virilizing effects are not. The concomitant use of estrogens to diminish the side effects of virilization is not always helpful.
The drug should be used very cautiously in individuals with:
- breast cancer and hypercalcemia
- liver dysfunction
- prostate cancer
- heart problems
There have been isolated reports of individuals developing a dry cough, breathing difficulties after injection with testosterone propionate. This has been linked to the oil based preparation or a contaminant in the formulation.
All individuals who use testosterone should have their liver enzymes and blood hematocrit regularly checked to ensure that they are within normal limits.
Testosterone propionate is classified as a class 3 drug under the controlled substance act. In the USA, it is not available in the USA.
Testosterone propionate does remain in the body for some time. Current techniques of testing can identify testosterone or its metabolites in the urine at least 3-4 weeks after the drug has been stopped. Infact, the screening has even gone beyond urine testing. If excessive use of the testosterone is suspected, one can even detect traces of the testosterone in the hair 2-4 months after the drug has been stopped.
However, one should know that the testing today for testosterone propionate is not perfect. About 50% of individuals who take this steroid are missed based on the testosterone/epitestosterone ratios.
The legal testosterone propionate is quite difficult to get hold off. The majority of bodybuilders get their testosterone from the black market. Generic testosterone formulations made in Europe and Mexico are widely available. The drug is not cheap and a vial of 250 mg can cost anywhere from $10-$40. In the last 2 decades, the increasing control of these drugs by the DEA has led to unscrupulous dealers selling fake or counterfeit products. So in the end, it is always buyer beware.