Effects of treatment with oxandrolone for 4 years on the frequency of severe arithmetic learning disability in girls with Turner syndrome

J Pediatr. 2009 Nov;155(5):714-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.05.031. Epub 2009 Jul 29.


Objectives: To study androgen treatment effects on arithmetic performance in girls with Turner syndrome.

Study design: Forty-four girls, ages 10 to 14 years at baseline, completed 4 years of treatment with oxandrolone (Ox) or placebo (Pl). All received growth hormone and estrogen replacement therapy. We assessed the number of girls with severe learning disability (LD, standard score <or=5(th) percentile) on measures of academic arithmetic and reading achievement (WRAT-3, arithmetic and reading), given yearly, and the WIAT numerical operations (NOS) and reading subtests, given at year 4.

Results: On the WRAT-3 arithmetic, the frequency of severe arithmetic LD was similar in the Ox and Pl groups at baseline and at years 1 and 2. At years 3 and 4, fewer girls in the Ox than Pl group had a severe arithmetic LD (year 4: 0/22 vs 5/21, P = .02). On the WIAT NOS (year 4), fewer girls in the Ox than Pl groups had a severe arithmetic LD (3/21 vs 8/20, P = .09). WIAT NOS error analysis suggested that the improved performance in the Ox group was associated with better performance on multiplication and division (P < .01). The frequency of severe LD for the WRAT-3 reading was similar for the Ox and Pl groups (all years) and for the WIAT reading subtest (year 4).

Conclusions: Androgen treatment for 4 years in girls with Turner syndrome resulted in a small decrease in frequency of severe arithmetic LD, with no effect on reading LD.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Androgens / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Educational Measurement
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / diagnosis
  • Learning Disabilities / drug therapy*
  • Learning Disabilities / etiology
  • Mathematics*
  • Oxandrolone / therapeutic use*
  • Probability
  • Reading
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Turner Syndrome / complications
  • Turner Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Turner Syndrome / drug therapy*


  • Androgens
  • Oxandrolone