Background/aims: In patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) receiving adequate erythropoietin therapy, the ideal dose of nandrolone decanoate (ND) to enhance muscle mass is not known.
Methods: In this phase II dose-finding study, 54 patients with CKD stage 5 were randomized to either low, medium or high doses of ND (50, 100 or 200 mg/week for 24 weeks, respectively, in males; doses halved in females), while 7 patients acted as non-randomized controls. The primary outcome measure was appendicular lean mass (ALM) by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Fluid overload (hydration of the fat-free mass) and indicators of physical functioning were secondary measures. Harms were also recorded. Data were analysed using Quade's (1967) non-parametric analysis of covariance.
Results: ND increased ALM in a dose-responsive manner (change scores = 0.3 +/- 0.3 vs. 0.8 +/- 0.3 vs. 1.5 +/- 0.5 vs. 2.1 +/- 0.4 kg, control vs. low vs. medium vs. high dose groups, respectively, p < 0.001) with no increases in fluid overload but no consistent effect on physical functioning. The highest dose of ND (100 mg/week) was intolerable in females because of virilizing effects.
Conclusion: If goals of future studies are to improve body composition, dosing of ND up to 200 mg/week in males and 50 mg/week in females should be investigated. However, to realize improvements in physical functioning, future phase III trials of ND may require additional interventions such as exercise training.
Copyright 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.