Effects of resistance exercise training and nandrolone decanoate on body composition and muscle function among patients who receive hemodialysis: A randomized, controlled trial

J Am Soc Nephrol. 2006 Aug;17(8):2307-14. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2006010034. Epub 2006 Jul 6.


Patients who are on hemodialysis commonly experience muscle wasting and weakness, which have a negative effect on physical functioning and quality of life. The objective of this study was to determine whether anabolic steroid administration and resistance exercise training induce anabolic effects among patients who receive maintenance hemodialysis. A randomized 2 x 2 factorial trial of anabolic steroid administration and resistance exercise training was conducted in 79 patients who were receiving maintenance hemodialysis at University of California, San Francisco-affiliated dialysis units. Interventions included double-blinded weekly nandrolone decanoate (100 mg for women; 200 mg for men) or placebo injections and lower extremity resistance exercise training for 12 wk during hemodialysis sessions three times per week using ankle weights. Primary outcomes included change in lean body mass (LBM) measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, quadriceps muscle cross-sectional area measured by magnetic resonance imaging, and knee extensor muscle strength. Secondary outcomes included changes in physical performance, self-reported physical functioning, and physical activity. Sixty-eight patients completed the study. Patients who received nandrolone decanoate increased their LBM by 3.1 +/- 2.2 kg (P < 0.0001). Exercise did not result in a significant increase in LBM. Quadriceps muscle cross-sectional area increased in patients who were assigned to exercise (P = 0.01) and to nandrolone (P < 0.0001) in an additive manner. Patients who exercised increased their strength in a training-specific fashion, and exercise was associated with an improvement in self-reported physical functioning (P = 0.04 compared with nonexercising groups). Nandrolone decanoate and resistance exercise produced anabolic effects among patients who were on hemodialysis. Further studies are needed to determine whether these interventions improve survival.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anabolic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anabolic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Musculoskeletal Physiological Phenomena / drug effects*
  • Nandrolone / administration & dosage
  • Nandrolone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Nandrolone / therapeutic use
  • Nandrolone Decanoate
  • Quality of Life
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Nandrolone
  • Nandrolone Decanoate