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Nilevar (Norethandrolone)

Nilevar was one of the first oral steroids available in the United States. It was essentially Searles answer to Cibas Dianabol (Methandrostenolone), which was released that same year. In fact, with respect to Nilevars effects on weight gain, anabolism, and water-retention, it is frequently compared to Dianabol.

Seven years prior, to the release of Nilevar, the Mayo Clinic heralded the dramatic effectiveness of cortisone in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. This in turn stimulated tremendous interest in all facets of steroid chemistry, endocrinology, and related fields. G. D. Searle & Co. promptly initiated a major effort in steroid research, with the objective of discovering better steroidal compounds than were previously available, and new steroids that could be used for conditions for which no other compounds were available.

This effort resulted in the introduction of Norethandrolone, marketed in 1956 as Nilevar, the first anabolic agent with a favorable separation between protein building and virilization (which is the development of androgynous characteristics). (1) Paradoxically, in men, only weak androgenic effects are found (possibly because it is deactivated by 5-alpha-reductase, which we dont need to delve into, just remember that in men, only mild androgenic effects are generally seen), though in women virilization is very common (for women this would mean developing male physiological characteristics: a deepening of the voice, the growth of extra body hair, and a tendency to leave the toilet seat up).

I wouldnt recommend this drug for use by female athletes, not only due to these side- effects but also due to some issues with infertility, which are also possible in females, though probably not with males(5)(6) . The anabolic effect of this drug is moderate, and this is probably due to its moderately strong binding to the Androgen Receptor (this makes it quite different from Dianabol, which has a poor binding to the Androgen Receptor) as well as its ability to stimulate protein synthesis (which it has in common with Dianabol) and stop protein catabolism (7). Nilevar was Searles first unique entry into the world of AAS, and it was this drug that eventually led to the research and develpoment of the much less androgenic and estrogenic/progesteronic Oxandrolone (Anavar) a decade later, and the resulting decline in popularity and use of Nilevar.

As you will see, though, Nilevar still has its own niche and purpose in athletics and bodybuilding, and can be an important part of either a cutting or bulking stack...but Im getting ahead of myself, and we need to understand a few basics about Nilevar first.

A quick look at the molecular structure of this drug tells us that it is a 19-nor steroid, which means that it could/should possess some of the same characteristics as Nandrolone, which is why it is often referred to as "Oral Deca". Although this is a gross oversimplification of this drug, its the easiest place to start when describing this compound. Norethandrolone, shares many characteristics with the injectable Nandrolones; it aromatizes and it is also a progestin. This means that it can convert to estrogen (since it aromatizes) and also fits into and stimulates the progesterone receptor (being a progestin). And unfortunately, progestins fall into the category of being severely gonadotrophin suppressive compounds) (3), and it also means that most ancillaries arent going to have 100% of their desired effect, and Nolvadex especially wont help, and could actually hurt you by increasing progesterone receptors (4). The 19-nor structure of this compound, very much like injectable Nandrolone, indicates that this drug can shut down your natural Testosterone production and HPTA (which is the term used to describe a whole host of interdependent hormones and processes within your endocrine system). It does all of this while also causing side effects such as gyno, acne, and water retention (the dreaded "smooth look"). If I were going to use Nilevar, Id strongly consider having anti-progesteronic compounds on hand (preferably Bromocriptine which Id take at a dose of 2.5mgs/day, and perhaps some Letrozole, which Id use at .5mg/day to fight water retention and estrogen) as well as the typical ancillaries used with other AAS, as those generally only fight/eliminate the process that causes AAS to convert to estrogen or fight/eliminate the estrogen itself. Sadly, were fighting side effects from both estrogen and progesterone when we use Nilevar. On the positive side of being a 19-nor compound, it must be noted that you also can reap many of the positive effects of other such compounds including a relatively strong bind to the Androgen Receptor, which is positively correlated with lypolysis (fat-burning). (2). Although at first glance, Id say that you should consider Nilevar as a "bulking" type of drug, Im speculating that if you use something to keep the water-retention to a minimum while using this compound (for this purpose, Ive already reccomended Femera) , it can successfully be used in a cutting cycle. Users who experience joint pains may find similar relief with Nilevar as they would with Deca, sadly, though, as Nilevar is an oral steroid, it cant be used for the same length of time as Deca, so its use for joint relief is probably contraindicated by possible issues with hepatoxicity (Liver Toxicity) stemming from its being 17 alpha-alkylated. On the bright side, since it is orally active and not estrified like the injectable 19-nor drugs (like Deca), its metabolites will most likely clear your body in much less time than with the injectables, the most common estimate being roughly 5 weeks. Ill also speculate that a novel use for this drug may be in the middle/end portion of a heavy bulking or powerlifting cycle (which doesnt include another 19-nor compound), when Nilevar can be used for a month or so when the heaviest lifting is involved, and the joint relief (and obviously the anabolic effect) it provides could allow the athlete to lift heavier than would normally be possible. There are many other orals on the market which can be used for anabolism, cutting, bulking, and all related effects, but none that will provide the joint relief that Nilevar should/could. For that reason, Nilevar will always have a purpose in heavy cycles, if it can be obtained.

Before we consider putting it in our next stack, it should be noted that this compound is rarely (if ever, anymore) counterfeited, and even more rarely seen on the black market. Its not in high demand, and in fact has been taken off the shelves in the USA (and is primarily marketed in France, but also in Australia and Switzerland) but taking it off the American shelves certainly doesnt mean its not useful. Allegedly, Arthur Jones was very fond of putting his athletes on it (instead of the more popular Dianabol), and Bill Pearl almost certainly used it as his main bulking agent, and for an entire cycle (10mgs/day) before a Mr. Universe win, and I wouldnt be surprised if Casey Viator and the Mentzer brothers dabbled in Nilevar. Based on what these guys looked like, Id venture a guess that this drug was (and possibly still is) most commonly used for bulking, and by the larger powerlifters and other athletes not worried about staying in a particular weight class. Your best bet for finding this stuff is either through a source who has a "connection" at a local pharmacy, and youll probably be looking at a price of .20-.40 cents per 10mg tablet (it only comes in 10mg tablets). As I said, its not exactly readily available, so that could create a bit of a sellers market& on the other hand, since its not in high demand it could be a buyers market. In either case, I wouldnt be thrilled with paying more than .25cents per tab.

Nilevar Cycle

So lets see where that leaves us in terms of designing a cycle using Nilevar:

Wed want to have a form of testosterone in our cycle, regardless of whether were going to use Nilevar to bulk up or to get cut, remember, Nilevar will probably reduce your natural testosterone levels to nothing. So lets say, to start off, were looking at using injectable testosterone at roughly 400-500mgs/week, to make sure that we replace the testosterone that were not going to produce naturally. In a bulking cycle wed use a long ester testosterone (Testosterone Cypionate or Testosterone Enanthenate), while in a cutting cycle wed probably want to consider the use of a shorter ester (Testosterone Propionate is the most popular for cutting cycles, as anecdotally, it seems to produce less water retention). Were going to avoid any form of injectable Nandrolone (Nandrolone Decanoate, Nandrolone Phenyl-propionate, etc... ) as well as any form of Trenbolone, in this cycle, as we dont want to stack 2 progestins together (and Nandrolone and Trenbolone, are both progestins). So that leaves us with a host of other drugs we can stack with our Nilevar and Testosterone. Id suggest using Equipoise (Boldenone Undeclyenate) on a bulking cycle, at 400-600mgs. This will serve the dual purpose of keeping your red blood count high (which is important for anabolism) as well as keeping your appetite high. In a cutting cycle, Id suggest the use of Masteron (Drostanolone), at 400-500mgs/week, probably injected with the same frequency as your Testosterone Propionate. Now, Id probably suggest keeping Bromocriptine on hand, and using it if you start to hold too much water or develop gynocomastia. Id say that 1.25mgs-2.5mgs/day is enough( which is going to prevent progesteronic side effects, as well as stimulate fat burning), and this recommendation is regardless of whether you choose to use Nilevar in a bulking or cutting cycle. Were not going to use any other orals in this cycle, either, as weve already discussed Nilevars hepatoxic properties, and we dont want to stress our livers unnecessarily. Unlike most orals, Id suggest using Nilevar at 20-40mgs/day in the middle of either cycle, as opposed to the beginning, so that the bulk of your heavy lifting is done while you reap the benefits of the joint protection Nilevar provides. Here are our 2 cycles, the first for bulking, and the second for cutting:

Week Testosterone Masteron Nilevar (Propionate)

Proper Post Cycle Therapy needs to be followed after either of these cycles (or any cycle containing Nilevar) and personally I would use: 500IU/day of HCG for 3 weeks and 20mgs of Nolvadex for 4-6 weeks starting one week after cessation of the cycle.

Remember that both of these cycles should include Bromocriptines use at 1.25-2.5mgs/day to combat progesteronic side effects, and .5-1mg/day of Femera to combat water retention and estrogenic side effects

Nilevar (Norethandrolone) Profile

[17-alpha-ethyl-19-nor-4-androstene-3-one, 17b-ol]
    Molecular Weight: 302.4558
    Formula: C20 H30 O2
    Melting Point: 130-136
    Manufacturer: Searle
    Release Date (in USA): 1956
    Effective Dose: 20-40mgs/day
    Active life: 12-16 hours
    Detection Time: 5 weeks
    Anabolic/Androgenic ratio (range): 100-200/22-55



  1. Steroids. 1992 Dec;57(12):624-30.
  2. Xu X, et al. "The effects of androgens on the regulation of lipolysis in adipose precursor cells." Endocrinology 1990 Feb;126(2):1229
  3. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2003 Apr;58(4):506-12
  4. Gynecol Oncol. 1999 Mar;72(3):331-6.
  5. J Reprod Fertil. 1966 Dec;12(3):489-99
  6. Contraception. 1975 Feb;11(2):193-207
  7. Lancet. 1958 Oct 25;2(7052):885-6


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