The FDA’s Looming War on Oxandrolone (Anavar)?

by Christian Duque

When you think of how much time and money the U.S. federal government spends on trivial matters very little will surprise you. Anyone who remembers the various prohormone bans and what many expected to be the crackdown on SARM’s that has yet to arrive knows all too well that our gray haired elected officials in Washington have no real sense of reality when it comes sports science. They go after supplements and compounds that increase lean muscle mass, reduce fat, and promote fitness.

This seems antithetical in a country ravaged by obesity, adult onset diabetes, and heart disease, but I digress. The fact that the government locks up individuals for using compounds that at worst can cause hair loss, acne, and excessive perspiration seems pretty ridiculous. And we don’t have any solid confirmation that the Federales are going to go on the offensive against Anavar; however, when Gemini Labs and two other mainstream pharmaceutical companies failed to renew their requests for review of Oxandrin, it sent shockwaves throughout the world of sports science. The labs in question were Oxandrin 2.5mg and 10mg tabs. Oxandrin is the brand name for Oxandrolone (aka “Anavar”). What was even more alarming was why the labs withdrew the requests.


The labs cited ages old data that Oxandrolone may cause “peliosis hepatis, sometimes associated with liver failure and intra-abdominal hemorrhage; liver cell tumors, sometimes fatal; and blood lipid changes that are known to be associated with increased risk of atherosclerosis.” The labs believe these risks far outweigh the benefits and simply withdrew their requests for evaluations.

The FDA initially approved Oxandrolone in 1964, finding that it served “as adjunctive therapy to promote weight gain after weight loss following extensive surgery, chronic infections, or severe trauma, and in some patients who without definite pathophysiologic reasons fail to gain or to maintain normal weight, to offset the protein catabolism associated with prolonged administration of corticosteroids, and for the relief of the bone pain frequently accompanying osteoporosis.”

Oxandrolone is one of the oldest, most frequently used compounds in bodybuilding and fitness. It’s preferred by females because of the fact it has a very mild anabolic effect and virtually no androgenic properties. This means that ladies who use it may gain lean muscle mass, shed fat, and increase appetite. This is important for hardgainers and provides that much-needed edge that so many natural competitors want.

Again, no one can claim natty when using Var, but the look that’s created is close enough that it’s a favorite amongst countless athletes who value having physiques that are seemingly attainable while still competitive enough to earn victories and top honors in untested shows. Moreover, the FDA in a letter dated December 2022 agreed with the labs. And this is why so many insiders believe that it’s only a question of time until the federal government goes on the warpath with one of the mildest and most used anabolic compounds.

As I’ve previously stated, this is a compound used primarily by bikini competitors. Its virtually non-existent androgenic effects are desirable to these athletes as they won’t alter their voices, won’t increase hair growth, and won’t enlarge certain body parts that never return to their original dimensions. I’m sure many of you can discern what I’m saying, but if you can’t, you’ll just have to wrestle with the uncertainty. I won’t be discussing the physiological changes that happen to a woman who abuses androgenic compounds.

What’s even more appalling are the dosages that the labs and the FDA found to be so seriously dangerous. Not only are we discussing the puniest anabolic in existence, but we’re talking about 2.5mg tablets! When you stop to think about what most top-level national competitors are taking, this almost seems like the script to a candid camera skit. I suppose it could be dangerous to someone, somewhere, but the same could be said about aspirin.

I’m not a medical doctor. Hell, I failed biology three times in college. Yes. Don’t judge. I had to take biology three times. I never took chemistry and I’ve never used anabolics. That being said, I’ve been a journalist in the sport of bodybuilding for well over fifteen years. I have written hundreds of articles – right here – at Iron Magazine. I’ve done hundreds of interviews and I’ve been reading the magazines and watching the DVD’s for well over 20 years.

I share my credentials only because I’ve been around enough to know what’s dangerous and what’s not. Again, I’m speaking purely in terms of broscience and what I’ve heard from friends in the industry. Granted, that’s not a total throwaway. It may not be medical knowledge or the data that’s used in scholarly medical journals, but it does account for something.

I have never heard of anyone getting sick from running Var and I think anyone who made such a claim in our world would be laughed out of their zip code. Now, if someone has a long list of pre-existing conditions – that’s totally different. But that’s not what is being stated by the labs in question or the FDA.

If Gemini Labs and their two fellow labs are pulling the plug on Oxandrin, what’s to say other pharmaceutical companies won’t follow suit? It’s a weak compound and even if it was a stronger one, these labs are owned by wealthy people with portfolios of other investments. They’re not going to risk their financial livelihoods, much less their good names and freedom, to sell anything. And if the government comes down on Oxandrolone the way it did with the prohormones in the 2000’s and 2010’s, then who is going to benefit?

If we know one thing it’s that drugs don’t disappear. If a prescription medication gets banned, then UGL’s will cash in. A UGL, or underground lab, can make all sorts of compounds and take them to market. They won’t be working in sterile environments, they probably will have no quality controls, and what they use to concoct Oxandrolone is anyone’s guess. Just like it’s anyone’s guess where they get their raw materials from. Nonetheless, something that resembles Oxandrolone will be for sale on the dark webs. Consumers that want it, will pay whatever outrageous price they have to, risking their freedom and their health and well-being in the process. It’ll be a very sad state of affairs if this is what the future holds, but only time will tell.

Unfortunately the men and women who write the laws for our country are clueless to bodybuilding and muscle-building compounds. Not only don’t they care, they’re oblivious to most of the things they’re doing anyways. It doesn’t matter what political party is in charge. The common denominator when it comes to performance enhancing drugs and supplements in our government is pure and unabashed ignorance.

It’s just another example of our tax dollars going down the drain.