Oxymetholone ameliorates insulin sensitivity in maintenance hemodialysis patients: a randomized controlled trial

Clin Nephrol. 2009 Apr;71(4):413-22. doi: 10.5414/cnp71413.


Aims: To investigate the beneficial effects of oral oxymetholone on IR in hemodialysis (HD) patients by increasing skeletal muscle function and stimulating myocyte glucose uptake and metabolism.

Methods: In a randomized, controlled double-blind study, 44 patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups: a treatment group that received oxymetholone 50 mg orally twice daily and a control group that received placebo twice daily for 24 weeks. IR was calculated by using HOMA, and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry was used to determine body composition. All patients were encouraged to walk at least one kilometer daily and were monitored by the Barthel index activity score.

Results: 25 men (57%) and 19 women (43%) were studied. 23 subjects were in the control group, and 21 subjects were in the treatment group. The mean age of patients and the duration of dialysis were 43.5 +/- 9.9 years and 92.8 +/- 37.8 months, respectively. After treatment, the HOMA index and body fat mass (FM) were significantly decreased in the treatment group compared to those in the control group (10.8 +/- 16.4 vs. 3.1 +/- 4.5; p < 0.05 and 1.73 +/- 2.77 vs. 0.40 +/- 1.12 kg; p < 0.05, respectively). Concurrently, the mean change of fat free mass (FFM) in the treatment group was higher than that in the control group (3.24 +/- 1.74 vs. 0.65 +/- 1.21 kg, p < 0.05). Two patients in the treatment group experienced an elevation in serum liver enzymes (9.52%).

Conclusion: HD patients treated with short-term oral oxymetholone showed an increase in insulin sensitivity when compared to the placebo group, and this effect depended on changes in FFM and FM.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Anabolic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Body Composition
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Oxymetholone / administration & dosage*
  • Placebos
  • Renal Dialysis*


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Placebos
  • Glucose
  • Oxymetholone