The Complete Nolvadex PCT Guide

When it comes to post-cycle therapy, the most common compound is — Nolvadex, or just Nolva. Why is Nolvadex PCT probably your best option? And how to do it right? Here’s how it works. 

What is Nolvadex? 

Basics first. Nolvadex, aka Tamoxifen Citrate, is a SERM: Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator. It’s a class of compounds that were initially developed for the treatment of breast cancer in women. but were later adopted as a PCT compound by athletes. 

Fun fact: Nolva was not a part of PCT and was relatively unknown to the community before the 1980s. 

How Nolvadex PCT Works?

Nolva works by binding to estrogen receptors in certain tissues, like breast tissue, while blocking estrogen activity in other areas of the body, such as the hypothalamus.

In the hypothalamus, Nolvadex blocks the negative feedback loop that estrogen normally exerts on the pituitary gland. This results in increased secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) from the pituitary gland.

NOTE: LH and FSH are essential for raising your natural Testosterone levels. Check our PCT guide here with all the details if you need more, but if you don’t — just keep in mind that the levels of LH and FSH are two primary factors in defining how much natural testosterone does your body actually make.

In addition to its effects on testosterone production, Nolvadex also has anti-estrogenic effects in breast tissue. Breast tissue has estrogen receptors, and estrogen can stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells. By blocking estrogen activity in breast tissue, Nolvadex can help to prevent the growth of gynecomastia (that you probably know as “man boobs”). 

Nolvadex also has the ability to block estrogen activity in other tissues, such as bone tissue. This can have a protective effect against osteoporosis, which is a condition characterized by decreased bone density and an increased risk of fractures. However, this one is more of a positive side effect, never the primary use of Nolva. 

How to run PCT with Nolvadex Right?

To do it right, you need to know just a few things: 

  1. When to start PCT?
  2. How much Nolvadex to take and how long should your PCT last?
  3. And if things don’t go right, how to make sure you are safe?

Let’s break it down into simple parts. Note that Novadex was never approved by the FDA of Health Canada for bodybuilding use, and probably never will be, so we have no official guidelines. It would be weird for Health Canada to provide guidelines on PCT, since it has banned anabolic steroids in the first place. We have to rely on studies and multiple decades of anecdotal experience here. 

When to start Nolvadex PCT?

You need to start PCT when the steroids in your cycle start to wear off. For two reasons: 

  1. SERMs like Nolvadex have their own side effects, you don;t want the sides from SERMs to stack with the sides of AAS in your cycle;
  2. When the steroids from your cycle are still in your blood, they still cause suppressive effects on your natural production. PCT at this point would make no sense.

So, you want to start pushing your body only when it’s not suppressed, and when you’re ready for PCT.

When PRECISELY you start Nolvadex PCT should be defined by the half-life of steroids in your cycle. Did you take quick-acting gear or long-acting? The longer the ester tail — the longer the compound will stay in your system. For example: 

  • After a Testosterone Propionate cycle — start PCT in about 3 days after the last injection;
  • After a Trenbolone Enanthate cycle — start PCT in about 12-14 days after the last injection;
  • After an Apoxar TRT (Testosterone Decanoate) cycle — start PCT in about 22-26 days after the last injection. If you, for some reason, decided to cycle this TRT compound in high doses, of course.

You can look up the half-life of every single anabolic steroid that exists. And when it wears off, that’s when you start taking Nolvadex. 

How Much Nolvadex to Take and How Long Should It Last?

Here we have two conflicting approaches. Remember that we rely on studies and anecdotal experience? Here’s where they start to say different things. 

Approach 1: Classic 20-40 mg

That’s the one that athletes were using for decades, used in many studies, like this one on Nolvadex and Raloxifene. You start with a higher dose of 40mg ED for two weeks, and continue with two more weeks of 20mg ED. The benefits of this approach are: 

  1. Frontloads Nolvadex in your blood so you reach the concentration a bit faster;
  2. Used for quite some time and recommended by pretty much everyone;
  3. Anecdotally, works just fine;
  4. Considered to be safe and effective by studies like this one;
  5. And works with all sorts of cycles, from extreme ones to relatively mild. 

Do we believe in this one? Yes. Are we ready to die on that hill? No. Because there’s an alternative. 

Approach 2: Smaller Doses, Longer Protocol

That’s the one that’s becoming more and more popular nowadays. Specifically, because this study on Nolvadex from 2013 and another one from 2007 here show peak efficiency of the compound at just 5mg ED. Not 40mg, not 20mg, as it was believed, but just 5mg. 

So what does this protocol suggest? Start with 5-10 mg of Nolvadex ED, and keep it for 6 to 8 weeks. 

The benefits are pretty obvious: 

  1. Less dose-dependent side effects; 
  2. It’s more cost-effective;
  3. The effects are not “limited” or “comparable”, but PEAK at 5mg.

Which protocol is better? No definitive answer here, you can try both and see which one works best for you. Anecdotally, both are effective and will do exactly what PCT is supposed to: get you back on track.

Best PCT Stacks with Nolvadex

Now, what happens if your cycle was really long and you took really high doses? Say, you were on a months-long blast and cruise? Just Nolvadex won’t do the trick in this case. You need: 

  • Pre-PCT: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, aka hCG, is supposed to work as a booster for your natural testosterone production before you hop off the steroid injections and start your PCT with Nolvadex;
  • Aromatase Inhibitors: Arimidex, Aromasin, or Femara are also supposed to be in your cycle, though NOT in the PCT phase, but alongside any of the aromatizing gear that you take. They will lower the amount of estrogen you have to combat in the first place;
  • Testosterone boosters: Some mild things, like Tribulus, won’t be enough for a PCT by themselves, but can help Nolvadex work a little more effectively.

All in all, you should not expect Nolvadex PCT to be a 100% guaranteed way to prevent any of the consequences. The fact that post-cycle therapy itself exists does not give you a right to abuse, overdose, blast in ungodly doses any of the gear, as well as exceed the cycle length above the normal limits.