Clenbuterol is a drug designed for use as an antihistamine in veterinary medicine. In humans, it provides stimulant effects similar to amphetamines, such as increased heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, clenbuterol is used illegally as an alternative to steroids for muscle growth, fat loss and improved athletic performance. Recreational use of clenbuterol is considered dangerous and poses risks for numerous serious side effects.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Nervousness and Anxiety
Clenbuterol has shown to cause emotional side effects, including severe nervousness, edginess, paranoia and anxiety. According to the medical faculty at University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, physical tremors often accompany nervous symptoms. A person may feel shakiness similar to excessive caffeine intake. Hand tremors are common and can lead to reduced ability to partake in physical tasks, such as writing, typing or holding objects steadily. People with depression, anxiety or other psychological disorders may hold heightened risks for these effects.
- Clenbuterol has shown to cause emotional side effects, including severe nervousness, edginess, paranoia and anxiety.
- People with depression, anxiety or other psychological disorders may hold heightened risks for these effects.
Clenbuterol may trigger sleep problems including insomnia--the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep. Nervous thoughts may keep users of the drug awake at night. The stimulant properties of clenbuterol also inhibit restful sleep capabilities. According to the National Sleep Foundation, stimulants are a major contributing cause of insomnia, which often leads to daytime grogginess, desire for additional stimulants and irritable moods 2. Since mood problems commonly stem from the drug itself, lack of sleep may exacerbate such symptoms.
- Clenbuterol may trigger sleep problems including insomnia--the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep.
Some of the most dangerous side effects caused by clenbuterol involve its effect on the heart. According to the UNSW, heart palpitations, rapid heartbeat and increased blood pressure may occur as a result of clenbuterol. In some cases, rapid heart rate frightens people into not taking them. Unfortunately, many others continue taking the drug regardless. In an interview with the Daily Mail in London in October 2006, substance abuse expert John McVeigh explained that women seeking a waif-thin physique may continue to take clenbuterol due to its thermogenic, or body-heat and heart-rate stimulating, effects 3. However, these effects may contribute to serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke and sudden death.
- Some of the most dangerous side effects caused by clenbuterol involve its effect on the heart.
- In an interview with the Daily Mail in London in October 2006, substance abuse expert John McVeigh explained that women seeking a waif-thin physique may continue to take clenbuterol due to its thermogenic, or body-heat and heart-rate stimulating, effects 3.
Nuvigil for Weight Loss
Weight loss reaped from clenbuterol is often temporary. According to McVeigh, clenbuterol is considered a way to lose weight without need for exercise or altered eating habits. However, weight gain frequently follows. Cases of sudden, intense weight gain have been reported due to long-term clenbuterol use. Clenbuterol can negatively affect a person's metabolism and result in body weight that exceeds a person's weight before taking the drug.
- Weight loss reaped from clenbuterol is often temporary.
- According to McVeigh, clenbuterol is considered a way to lose weight without need for exercise or altered eating habits.
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- U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration: Steroid Abuse in Today's Society
- National Sleep Foundation: Insomnia Causes and Treatment
- Daily Mail: The Size Zero Pill
- U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Diversion Control Division. Clenbuterol. Updated July 2019.
- Drake SD, Hansen LE, Harris C, et al. Effects of clenbuterol on horses. Comp Exerc Physiol. 2013;9(3-4):181-187. doi:10.3920/CEP13022
- Medellín-Martínez MF, Luna-Zavala I, Martínez-Delgado M, Pérez-Urizar JT, Ramírez-Telles JA, Patiño-Rodríguez O. Sensitive Assay of Clenbuterol Residues in Beef by Ultra-High Performance Liquid Chromatography Coupled with Mass Spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) and Solid-Phase Extraction. Food Anal Methods. 2018;11:2561-2568. doi:10.1007/s12161-018-1222-1
- Jessen S, Solheim SA, Jacobson GA, et al. Beta2-adrenergic agonist clenbuterol increases energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and induces mTOR phosphorylation in skeletal muscle of young healthy men. Drug Test Anal. 2020;12(5):610-618. doi:10.1002/dta.2755
- Kim HK, Della-Fera MA, Hausman DB, Baile CA. Effect of clenbuterol on apoptosis, adipogenesis, and lipolysis in adipocytes. J Physiol Biochem. 2010;66(3):197-203. doi:10.1007/s13105-010-0024-8
- Santos RP, Pereira A, Guedes H, Lourenço C, Azevedo J, Pinto P. Anabolic drugs and myocardial infarction - A clinical case report. Arq Bras Cardiol. 2015;105(3):316-319. doi:10.5935/abc.20150111
August McLaughlin is a certified nutritionist and health writer with more than nine years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in various magazines such as "Healthy Aging," "CitySmart," "IAmThatGirl" and "ULM." She holds specializations in eating disorders, healthy weight management and sports nutrition. She is currently completing her second cookbook and Weight Limit—a series of body image/nutrition-related PSAs.