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Esiclene (formebolone, formyldienolone)


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Although technically Esiclene (formebolone) is a steroid, not many bodybuilders use it for any sort of muscle building property. Formebolone is yet another form of methandrostenolone (Dianabol). Its basically the same structure, with an attachment of a 2-carboxaldehyde group and an 11-hydroxyl group. The 11-hydroxyl-group keeps the steroid from aromatizing (converting to estrogen), and from what I can see, the 2-carboxaldehyde group keeps it from being highly androgenic or anabolic. Another thing, which is actually more important for our purposes here that the 2-carboxaldehyde group does, is make Esiclene very irritating to inject. Thats exactly what made the injectable version of this drug very popular with competitive bodybuilders, especially after Bill Phillips wrote about it. Basically its a very weak steroid, no real anabolic/androgenic activity, in a vial at only 2 mg/ml, and it hurts like hell to inject. Theres also no virilization (3) possible, and its also 17-alpha-alkylated and thus toxic to the liver. No anabolic effects, it hurts to inject, and is liver toxic... sign me up!

Its no wonder that Esiclene is only popular with bodybuilders, and not athletes. Its purely a cosmetic enhancer for all intents and purposes. Maybe Im being too hard on Formebolone though. Lets take a look at it from an anabolic point of view. Medically, Esiclene was mostly used on kids with growth deficiency. Its basically a mild and non-aromatizing methandrostenolone, which at first, sounds great. There is an absence of an estrogenic component which could potentially stunt growth, and it was found that ultimate height was not affected by the increases in bone age caused by Formebolone treatment, and a very mild anabolic effect was all that was noted (1). Unfortunately, another study only indicated that same very mild anabolic activity (2). Also, unfortunately, Formebolone can increase nitrogen retention only slightly (3).

Anyway, you can clearly see why Esiclene is really a bit of one-trick-pony. Its really only injected by precontest bodybuilders into lagging body parts prior to a competition, to take advantage of the localized swelling it causes. Swelling caused by Formebolone should subside in 3-4 days, roughly the same as with injectable Winstrol or Testosterone Suspension, after which the injected muscle will return to its original size.

This also comes in oral form, but I can only imagine that it wont really do much, as injectable versions of given steroids are often much more effective, and in this case, the oral version of Esiclene doesnt offer us the one thing the injectable version is used for, which is irritation at the injection site.


  1. Cuatrecasas Membrado JM, Bosch Banyeres JM. Study of non-hypophysiary growth retardation treated with formebolone. An Esp Pediatr 1985 Jan;22(1):27-32
  2. Esposito R, Pluvio M, Giordano D. Anabolic agents in kidney disease: the effect of formebolone on protein synthesis in patients with renal insufficiency or nephrosis. Curr Med Res Opin 1975;3(1):43-5
  3. Cerutti S, Forlani A, Galimberti E. Anticatabolic action of formebolone in the castrated rat treated with dexamethasone. Arzneimittelforschung 1976;26(9):1673-7

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