Nolvadex (Tamoxifen Citrate)



Nolvadex is the trade name for the drug Tamoxifen Citrate, which was first manufactured by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). Later, ICI was purchased by AstraZeneca, which is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Currently, tamoxifen is on the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines because of its many different uses. Although on paper it might seem like it could be considered an aromatase inhibitor (AI), it's actually a SERM (selective estrogen receptor modulator).

Medical uses

The main medical use of nolvadex is treatment of both early and advanced breast cancer in pre and post menopausal women. In addition, it is the most common treatment for male breast cancer. The FDA has approved nolvadex for prevention of breast cancer in high risk women, with a recommended use set at 10 years. Studies have shown the chance of re-occurance of cancer drops 66%. Another use for tamoxifen in women is infertility, a recommended dosage is 10-40mg per day during a woman's cycle. Studies have shown it possibly doubles the chance of pregnancy. Recently, nolvadex has even been used to treat bipolar disorder; though, the medical data on this is still being investigated.

tamoxifen chemical structure

Fig 1. Tamoxifen Citrate Chemical Structure


Nolvadex works very similarly to clomid. It's an antagonist of the estrogen receptors to-which it binds itself preventing active estrogen from binding in its place. Unlike AI's such as aromasin, letrozole, or arimidex, which actually reduce the flow of estrogen in the body, nolvadex merely blocks estrogen from the receptor. This means there is a greater chance of an estrogen rebound effect.

Use in bodybuilding

In the late 80's, steroid guru Dan Duchaine speculated that nolvadex could be used to help with gynecomastia (bitch tits). Since that time, it has become popular as anti-gynecomastia treatment and for on-cycle use in guys who are gyno prone.

When gyno prone anabolic steroid users run aromatising compounds, such as testosterone or dianabol, they convert to estrogen. This can lead to puffy nipples, bloating, blood pressure, erectile dysfunction (ED) and other estrogen related sides. Nolvadex can prevent some estrogen-related side effects from occurring, and it can halt the growth of gynecomastia. However, in my opinion, using an AI is much more effective for overall estrogen control.

In practice, tamoxifen is best used to help boost LH and total testosterone. This will help you recover from a cycle, which makes it a popular choice for post cycle therapy (PCT). A clomiphene, tamoxifen combination is one of the best recovery options for most PCT regiments.

How it works for post cycle therapy (PCT)

When a user runs anabolic steroids, the pituitary realizes it's getting too much hormone, so it goes dormant. This sends your LH to near zero (0) and the body no longer produces its own testosterone; in simple terms, your natural testosterone production shuts down. So, when you come off a cycle it’s important to run a PCT (post cycle therapy) to help recover the body’s HPTA.

Tamoxifen does not mimic the LH in the body, rather it stimulates the hypophysis to release more gonadotropins. Gonadotropins are protein hormones that are secreted by gonadotrope cells of the pituitary gland and stimulate faster and higher release of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). When this happens, the rise in LH will spike up the total testosterone levels allowing a smooth post cycle therapy (PCT). As a result, this will help you minimize any losses in muscle gains until your own body is able to recover.

Interestingly, tamoxifen works just like clomiphene, by stopping estrogen from going into the pituitary, which manipulates it into producing LH. In turn, it then signal the leydig cells to produce testosterone. Many users of nolvadex have run blood work showing LH levels rise from 0 to over 10iu, which is above the normal referenced range for an adult male. As a result of this, your testosterone levels go up.

It is important to remember these testosterone spikes are temporary while on the drug. Once you come off, levels will normalize and, with the foreign hormones out of your body, the users HPTA will be able to recover on its own.

Nolvadex vs. Clomid

Milligram for milligram, nolvadex is far stronger than clomid. They are similar in that they are both SERMs, and simply prevent the estrogen from binding to the receptors where it can cause a problem. Neither are aromatase inhibitors. It terms of bodybuilding, it is up to the user to decide which one they prefer through experience. I found a combination of the two (2) drugs is the safest bet for PCT. However, for gynecomastia treatment, tamoxifen is a far better option.

Side effects and dosage

Some users swear by nolvadex, others prefer clomid during pct. Some users complain about reduced libido, others say it increases libido. I believe the negativity with tamoxifen is due to improper dosing protocols – mainly over-dosing with high dosages.

You should start with 10-20mg every other day at the most, and see how the dosage works for you. Make sure to run it as a part of a complete post cycle therapy.

There is evidence that Nolvadex up-regulates progestin receptors. This means if you run tamoxifen along with a progestin, such as any type of nandrolone or trenbolone, you run a higher chance of developing progestin related side effects. This has some ongoing debate in both the medical and bodybuilding community. Therefore, to be on the safe side, don't use it with progestins.

To recap:

Dosages for PCT: 10-40mgs ED or EOD

Dosages for gynecomastia treatment: 20-80mgs ED

*ED = every day *EOD = every other day


Tamoxifen Citrate has a 6 day half-life, but in different medical documents it's shown between 5 and 7 days.


Tamoxifen is usually sold in 20 milligrams tablets. It's commonly found in research use only preparations at 20mgs/ml, 30ml bottle.



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