T Nation

Safety of Oral vs Injectable Cycles


Hi guys,

With all the threads I've read on this forum, as well as other forums, the general consensus seems to be that if you're suggesting to run an oral only cycle you WILL get flamed. The primary reasons are as follows:

1) Very harsh on the liver
2) Not as much gains as injectables
3) You'll lose alot of your gains when you're done
4) What little gains you will get is not worth the damage you're doing to your body

MAN UP AND PIN!! INJECTABLES ARE WAY SAFER THAN ORALS!!!! (at least, that's what they keep screaming at me)


I've been reading up about injectables and I keep running into threads that discuss injection issues. It seems to me that injecting these compounds into your body is far from safe:

1) Impurities in the compound causing pain and swelling at the injection site
2) Hitting the lymphatic system (even though the risk is small there is still a risk) causing extreme localized swelling and pain with resulting edema
3) Injection site infection
4) Injecting into tendons or other dangerous areas (by accident, obviously)

So, if the compound gets administered properly and without issue it is safer than orals. However, there is alot of risk getting that compound into your body, isn't there?

My question to all of you: Are injection issues a regular occurance? Rare? If so, how rare? Have some of you out there been lucky enough to NEVER experience an injecton problem? Perhaps even most of you? How likely or unlikely is it for a complete noob to botch an injection even though he knows where the principle injection sites are?

When you consider all this, you have to stop and think before you flame guys doing oral only cycles. Perhaps the gains aren't as great. However, as long as they control their dosages they are actually quite safe in comparison... aren't they?

I've been PETRIFIED of needles as long as I can remember. In fact, I had a nurse at my place just the other day taking a blood sample for my new insurance company. Just the feeling of that needle in my vein was making me have a mild panic attack. But, I think I can be man enough to get over my fear of needles and JUST DO IT. But now I have a whole other bunch of fears to worry about with injection issues.

What are your thoughts on all this?


Extremely rare.

Nurses in the US and Canada do thousands of intramuscular injections per day. You never hear of problems.

Tens of thousands of guys are doing steroids injections, how often are you hearing about problems?

Issue 1. is in your control. Dont buy bad shit. I dont care if thats all thats available. Dont buy bad shit.

  1. Impossible. There are no lymph nodes near the sites for intramuscular injections. Nursing websites cover the locations.

  2. Shouldn't happen with proper hygeine. Infection is not the same as local swelling or redness. A shallow injection can cause the latter two things. Actual infections are rare. But I have heard of someone getting an infection from doctor prescribed T. So yes there is a small risk any time you break the skin and introduce a foreign object to the inside of your body.

  3. Utterly ridiculous. Do yo consider driving your car into a lake a hazard while driving your car everyday? Yes I guess anything is possible if the person is stupid enough but realistically speaking no one is injecting near a tendon, unless its planned.


I dont understand phobias so I really have no sympathy for you but if youre that afraid of something it seems like you'll always be able to find a hang up and a reason not to do it.


The actual relative risk of getting an infection is very very small, and probably comparable statistically to the percentage of people that suffer serious liver damage as a result of oral steroid use. Also, testosterone is one of the best steroids out there for all kinds of reasons, and you can't take it orally effectively. Shit, all of the best compounds are injectable. If you stick to orals only, you are severely limiting yourself.

It is also next to impossible to get up to an acceptable weekly milligram dosage level using orals only without going well above the reccommended dosages for oral steroids. You couldn't easily hit 500mg a week, and a gram? Fuck that.

Seriously dude, your fear is unfounded. I don't feel a thing anymore, and I am so careful about hygiene, far more careful than other people I know. The only big thing you really have to worry about is injecting into a vein, but if you aspirate correctly, you will be fine.

If you are really worried, get prescribed TRT, the doc or nurse will teach you everything to know first hand, which is way easier than trying to work it out from internet posts.


Well, while I don't have the needle phobia in general I can relate to what you're saying. I wouldn't do something that had me scratching my fingernails on a chalkboard every day (the idea is very jangling to my nerves) and I wouldn't stick thick needles into the back of my hand either, the way they commonly do IV's in hospitals. Hate the idea. So if you feel that way about needles anywhere and can't get around it, okay.

HOWEVER, that said a 29 gauge 1/2 inch insulin needles is like absolutely nothing happening. If it's a sharp needle one ordinarily doesn't even feel it going in. So it could be that while maybe some places of the body, you feel like I do about big needles going to the backs of my hands (I'd be okay with an insulin needle) maybe you can get okay with the idea of an insulin needle in for example the quads.


I really appreciate everyone's input. Bonez217, I can assure you that I wasn't looking for an excuse not to do it. It's just that if you would have said that injection issues are commonplace and you just have to learn how to deal with it I would have said "forget about it... I'm sticking to orals". Since you've now made it clear that it's very, very rare, I now find myself with no excuse other than my phobia.

Everyone has a phobia. I don't care how tough you are :o) Some people haven't discovered their phobia yet and maybe never will. If I never needed to be injected with a needle I might have been able to say that I don't have a phobia. But, when I did, it freaked me out and I can't explain why.

@BILL: When the nurse did the blood test she had to inject in that soft portion of the arm between the forearm and the bicep... right into a vein. It's an AWFUL sensation. However, if I had to pin myself in my delts... it probably wouldn't bother me as much.

After reading the "Steroid Newbie Cycle Planning" sticky, FuriousGeorge suggests doing the following:

Cycle Plan
W 1-10 Test Enth 250mg E3D
W 1-12 Adex 0.25mg EOD (reduce to 0.125mg EOD in last week)
Followed by proper PCT obviously

Just for the sake of comparison, if you would grade an oral only cycle on a scale of 1 to 10, say 60-80mg Oral Turinabol, vs the cycle mentioned above, how would they compare in over keepable results?


I don't have anywhere near as much basis for judging effect of Oral-Turinabol as for many other anabolic steroids because back when I was doing a lot of consults, that drug virtually didn't exist in the US. All I can go on is having tried it myself and then the same as you could do and likely have done yourself, seeing what people seem to say about it, which leads only to a very rough and not completely overall idea.

But given those caveats, I'd consider the two comparable for the first six weeks, but then after that while the results would still likely be comparable, the testosterone cycle is fine to continue for another few weeks while the OT cycle really ought to be stopped.

There's nothing wrong with cycles being shorter. For example if you plan to be "on" one-third of the time on average, or half the time if wanting to push it harder, then over the course of time there's not anything less about doing the shorter cycles.

That is to say, suppose you plan to be "off" twice as long as "on."

Well then, with the 6 week OT-only cycle you're doing another cycle after only a 12 week break.

With the 10-week testosterone cycle, really you can't count as being "off" until say the 12 week point, so you have 24 weeks to wait. A lot longer. By that time -- 32 weeks total -- you'd have completed 2 of the OT cycles and been two weeks into the third.

A lot -- but not all -- of why oral-only cycles have a deserved overall bad reputation is that they usually don't take advantage of the synergy that exists between some steroids. Testosterone covers all the bases so just one steroid is fine in this case, but in most cases that is not so with anabolic steroids.

This could be taken care of by using both Dianabol and oxandrolone, for example, but most oral-only guys are not being sophisticated with it.

OT could well wind up being an exception. I didn't use it enough to come to definite conclusions but it seems to me likely that it has mixed activity and therefore actually may not need to be stacked with anything else, other than for the sake of obtaining more effect with adding more dosage of liver-toxic material. But as you are comparing to only a similar total dosage of testosterone anyway, that's not a factor.

You could try it and see how you like it.


Thanks Bill,

The one sentence that stuck out in your reply was in regards to the DBOL/anavar stack where guys are "not being sophisticated with it". Could you elaborate?


I wrote really unclearly there. I meant being unsophisticated with what they were doing, rather than with Dianabol and oxandrolone. By which I meant that it seems very rare for them to do that, or to do oxandrolone/Anadrol/HCG.

Instead they wind up taking a single Class II oral, or combine two Class II's, or combine a decent pharmaceutical anabolic steroid with some crappy prohormone, or things like this.

By Class I and Class II I mean that anabolic steroids can be categorized into two groups (or three if one counts mixed or combined activity) according to their stacking behavior.

Trenbolone is arbitrarily set as being Class I. It is also the case that trenbolone binds strongly to the androgen receptor, and it is the case that trenbolone by itself, even if a quite high dose is taken, is not maximally effective.

Compounds which stack synergistically with trenbolone, enabling greater total effect from same total milligrams, are categorized as Class II. These usually or always are compounds with not so much binding to the androgen receptor but which are still effective anabolics.

Synergistic combination of steroids is almost automatically achieved by combining an injectable with an oral. It used to be thought that this was inherent to the fact of being injected and the fact of being taken orally, but this isn't the case. Rather instead, it happens that the injectables are generally Class I and the orals are generally, but not always, Class II.

By taking both Dianabol and oxandrolone, one is obtaining this synergy though the route is entirely oral.

Anadrol and oxandrolone does the same, but because both are non-aromatizing and the stack is suppressive, estrogen levels will fall too low unless an aromatizing steroid is provided or unless T production is stimulated with HCG. But that would involve injection. Dianabol/oxandrolone works fine.

It may be that OT alone is as good or it also might not be the case. I didn't work with it enough to be able to say. I kind of doubt it though, but do tend to think it works better than a strictly Class I or strictly Class II compound would work by itself. So it may have mixed activity, as testosterone itself does.


I'll vouch for tren/dbol as being a very pleasant cycle.


I'm interested in running a dbol/tren cycle, what dose of dbol did you find worked best (I'm guessing around 30mg a day split doses)? I vaguely recall you saying that dbol/tren did not have the sides associated with test/tren too.


I think there is an old post on here somewhere about the different causes injection pain/redness/etc. That may be a good read for anyone interested in what is being talked about on here. I cant remember who wrote it but I found it very useful at the time.

I feel many users confuse these two

1) Impurities in the compound causing pain and swelling at the injection site. Ill add in BA/BB content to this type of reaction.

3) Injection site infection

I think its important for users to be able to differentiate between the 2.


OK, here's what I'm understanding from all this:

The gains made from an oral cycle are comparable to an injectable cycle over the same time frame. However, since you can run an injectable cycle for a longer period of time you can expect better gains.

Gains made from injectables are easier to keep than orals. However, I still don't know why yet. I'm assuming that because of the quick acting orals giving you quick mass, and the cycle being so short, the mass doesn't have long enough to 'stick' so to speak. Injectables will provide steadier gains over a longer period of time making the gains more keepable... is that it?

The ideal situation for me, wanting to add some lean mass and shed some fat, would be to do 250mg test e twice a week and kickstart it with some low dose dbol (say 20mg or so) for the first 4 weeks. With proper PCT I could expect some nice keepable gains making the whole effort worthwhile.

Let me know if anything is incorrect in my assumptions here.


I had a limited supply of dbol and I did the cycle primarily for strength gains. I used 20mg/d. The dbol was for estrogen replacement and I only used it preworkout.

I had no side effects at all. Well the tren served as an appetite suppressant, even at 50mg/d. Doubling both drugs would be a better cycle for muscle gain. Or 1.5x more at least.


Doubling both drugs...in your cycle or my cycle you mean? In mine that would make 750mg-1000mg test plus 30mg-40mg dbol....?


Well, in some cases depending on what comparison is being made: what oral cycle vs what combined oral/injectable cycle or testosterone-only cycle.

With the specific two possibilities you suggested, my rough estimate is that they probably were about equally effective per week of use.

Better gains from that one particular cycle; but longer vs shorter cycles doesn't in and of itself mean better yearly gains.


Comparing two different cycles one of them might have much more weight gain from retained water, and thus a careless look at the matter might conclude that "losses" were worse after the cycle. A given oral cycle might give more bloat than another given injectable cycle.

Then there's also losses of actual contractile protein, but this is a matter of how quickly LH is recovered, and an oral cycle can be quicker in this regard and therefore better, although some injectable cycles can be equally good in this regard.

I don't know whether it would be ideal but it would be a perfectly reasonable cycle if estrogen is controlled (more preferable) or a SERM is used for gyno protection (second-choice.)

And if the testosterone was started with a 750 mg initial injection, which will not give 3x the levels you'd usually be getting with 250 mg 2x/week injections, but instead would promptly get levels to where they would eventually arrive at your usual dosing.

Some, actually many, could get away with no estrogen control with this particular cycle, but it's impossible to predict whether a given first-time user would be one of them or not. Other than that if they have pubertal gyno, then probably not.


I was replying to Rational. Sorry.


Cheers. I think adding in GHRP-6 to the mix would make this an awesome cycle.


Mr Roberts, if you had to pick one class 1 steroid and one class 2 steroid, which ones would in your opinion form the greatest synergy, assuming access to the most common types of orals and injectibles?

Would tren E and dbol be one of the most powerfull stacks?

I realize most wouldn't use 700mgs of dbol a week, while for test this would be a fairly common dosage, but assuming one were adventurous enough to go with a stack like, 700 mg tren E and 700mg dbol, would this yield greater results than same dosages of tren E and test E? Estrogen being kept under controll with an appropriate AI.


Bill, is oxandrolone a both a class I and Class II in higher doses?