Treatment with oxandrolone and the durability of effects in older men

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2004 Mar;96(3):1055-62. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00808.2003. Epub 2003 Oct 24.

Abstract

We investigated the effects of the anabolic androgen, oxandrolone, on lean body mass (LBM), muscle size, fat, and maximum voluntary muscle strength, and we determined the durability of effects after treatment was stopped. Thirty-two healthy 60- to 87-yr-old men were randomized to receive 20 mg oxandrolone/day (n = 20) or placebo (n = 12) for 12 wk. Body composition [dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), magnetic resonance imaging, and (2)H(2)O dilution] and muscle strength [1 repetition maximum (1 RM)] were evaluated at baseline and after 12 wk of treatment; body composition (DEXA) and 1-RM strength were then assessed 12 wk after treatment was discontinued (week 24). At week 12, oxandrolone increased LBM by 3.0 +/- 1.5 kg (P < 0.001), total body water by 2.9 +/- 3.7 kg (P = 0.002), and proximal thigh muscle area by 12.4 +/- 8.4 cm(2) (P < 0.001); these increases were greater (P < 0.003) than in the placebo group. Oxandrolone increased 1-RM strength for leg press by 6.7 +/- 6.4% (P < 0.001), leg flexion by 7.0 +/- 7.8% (P < 0.001), chest press by 9.3 +/- 6.7% (P < 0.001), and latissimus pull-down exercises by 5.1 +/- 9.1% (P = 0.02); these increases were greater than placebo. Oxandrolone reduced total (-1.9 +/- 1.0 kg) and trunk fat (-1.3 +/- 0.6 kg; P < 0.001), and these decreases were greater (P < 0.001) than placebo. Twelve weeks after oxandrolone was discontinued (week 24), the increments in LBM and muscle strength were no longer different from baseline (P > 0.15). However, the decreases in total and trunk fat were sustained (-1.5 +/- 1.8, P = 0.001 and -1.0 +/- 1.1 kg, P < 0.001, respectively). Thus oxandrolone induced short-term improvements in LBM, muscle area, and strength, while reducing whole body and trunk adiposity. Anabolic improvements were lost 12 wk after discontinuing oxandrolone, whereas improvements in fat mass were largely sustained.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight / drug effects*
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Oxandrolone / pharmacology*

Substances

  • Oxandrolone