During sustained use of corticosteroids, the adrenal glands slow down or stop their normal production of cortisol. So, if we try to quit steroids cold-turkey after our bodies have adjusted to them (usually after two weeks of usage), the withdrawal symptoms can be pretty unpleasant (muscle stiffness, fever, tenderness, fatigue, and pain are common). For that reason, it’s important to gradually reduce the dosage instead of stopping all at once! The best rate of tapering will depend on the original dosage, the specific medication, how long it was taken for, and the disease being treated. But, a ballpark is to decrease the dosage by the equivalent of to 5 mg of prednisone every 3 to 7 days, until the dose reaches 5 mg of prednisone (or equivalent) per day. In general, it can take anywhere from a week to a few months to fully taper off most corticosteroids, and the after-effects can last up to a year. Always consult your healthcare provider before altering medications or supplements!
BDJ: Could you relay your own experience with drug use?
SO: This is an area of great interest for people. I don’t care who wants to take steroids, because that’s a personal choice… that’s his life. Now, today, everybody has access to them. I even saw in one of the big magazines that Arnold denies having used them, but Arnold was one of the first to bring steroids over to America . And everybody in the old days used them: Zane, Columbu, myself, Arnold, Larry Scott, Harold Poole, Dave Draper, and even Steve Reeves . There’s no way to deny it. It wasn’t much, nothing like today. But the development of drugs is much different. I used decca and dianabol, and that was something really big at the time; and decca was not considered that bad. It was even prescribed by doctors to help make your bones strong. Today you have guys weighing 200 pounds, and six months later they weigh 250-300 pounds! So you know these guys are taking something unbelievable. When they say they haven’t taken anything, you know that it’s phony.
Another common concern among individuals who receive testosterone and other steroids from their physicians is the lack of necessary steroid supplements such as aromatase inhibitors. At low maintenance doses, testosterone usually does not require the inclusion of an AI, so your doctor probably will not prescribe one. Here is where you will need to get a little crafty; you should never use testosterone or any other steroid that converts to estrogen without an AI. You may need to return to the doctor and report your symptoms to obtain something like Arimidex, although at this point, you run the risk of having your doctor stop your steroid treatment altogether. Otherwise, you can usually find Arimidex online.