Objective: Malnutrition is a common problem in dialysis patients, and may affect up to one third of patients. It is associated with high mortality and morbidity. Although a number of studies were performed to determine effective treatment, there is no proven medication for this condition. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of megestrol acetate (MA) on serum albumin levels in malnourished dialysis patients.
Design: This was a randomized, controlled clinical trial.
Setting: The setting, a dialysis center at Razi Hospital, Rasht, Iran, provides services to dialysis patients.
Patients: Twenty-two malnourished dialysis patients with persistent hypoalbuminemia (albumin, <3.5 g/dL for 2 months) participated, and were randomly assigned to either an experimental group or a control group.
Intervention: The experimental group was treated with MA, 40 mg twice daily, over 2 months, and was compared with the control group. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS (version 10; Chicago, IL).
Results: After 2 months, the mean (+/-SD) serum albumin level in the experimental group rose from 3.31 +/- 0.31 g/dL to 4.41 +/- 0.31 g/dL, but in the control group, it declined, from 3.35 +/- 0.21 to 3.02 +/- 0.48 g/dL. The difference between the two groups was significant (P = .002).
Conclusion: At a dose of 40 mg twice a day, MA safely increased serum albumin in malnourished dialysis patients.