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Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2009 May;13(5):448-54.
doi: 10.1007/s12603-009-0082-1.

Usage of Megestrol Acetate in the Treatment of Anorexia-Cachexia Syndrome in the Elderly

Randomized Controlled Trial

Usage of Megestrol Acetate in the Treatment of Anorexia-Cachexia Syndrome in the Elderly

S-S Yeh et al. J Nutr Health Aging. .


The aim of this review is to assess the efficacy and safety of megestrol acetate (MA) in geriatric cachexia. The paper presented here reviews a previously published study of MA use in 69 patients in a randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial. This paper will also address the underlying pathogenesis of cachexia (specifically, the role of cytokines) along with the use of MA, its mechanism of action and its side effects.

Objective: To compare the effects of MA oral suspension (O.S.), 800 mg/day, versus placebo on weight in geriatric nursing home patients with weight loss or low body weight.

Design: Twelve weeks, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with a 13-week follow-up period.

Patients: Northport VAMC Nursing home patients with weight loss of * 5% of usual body weight over the past 3 months, or body weight 20% below their ideal body weight.

Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to receive placebo or MA 800 mg/d for 12 weeks and were then followed for 13 weeks off treatment and mortality 4 years post treatment.

Measurements: Primary outcome- weight and appetite change. Secondary outcome-sense of well being, enjoyment of life, change in depression scale, laboratory nutrition parameters, energy intake counts, body composition, and adverse events.

Results: At 12 weeks there were no significant differences in weight gain between treatment groups, while MA-treated patients reported significantly greater improvement in appetite, enjoyment of life, and well being. At week 25 (3 months after treatment), 61.9% of MA-treated patients had gained * 1.82 kg (4 lbs) compared to 21.7% of placebo patients. There was no difference in survival between MA and placebo groups. Considering possible confounders, higher initial IL-6, initial TNFR-p75 levels, and final neutrophil percentage were associated with elevated mortality, whereas higher initial pre-albumin, initial albumin, final pre-albumin, final albumin and final weight gain were associated with decreased death.

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