The effect of oxandrolone on body proportions and body composition in growth hormone-treated girls with Turner syndrome

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2010 Aug;73(2):212-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2010.03789.x. Epub 2010 Jan 23.


Objective: Untreated girls with Turner syndrome (TS) have short stature, relatively broad shoulders, a broad pelvis, short legs, a high fat mass and low muscle mass. Our objective was to assess the effect of the weak androgen oxandrolone (Ox) on body proportions and composition in growth hormone (GH)-treated girls with TS.

Design/patients: 133 patients were included in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study.

Methods: Patients were treated with GH (1.33 mg/m(2) per day) from baseline, combined with placebo (Pl) or Ox in a low (0.03 mg/kg per day) or previously conventional (0.06 mg/kg per day) dose from the age of eight, and oestrogens from the age of twelve. Sitting height, biacromial and biiliacal distances compared with height (i.e. shape values), BMI, waist circumference, sum of 4 skinfolds (sum4skin) and upper arm muscle area (UAMA) SD scores (SDS) were assessed half-yearly.

Results: Compared with GH + Pl, adult shape values on GH + Ox tended to be higher for sitting height (Ox 0.03, P = 0.2; Ox 0.06, P = 0.02) and biacromial distance (Ox 0.03, P = 0.2; Ox 0.06, P = 0.07) and lower for biiliacal distance (Ox 0.03, P = 0.004; Ox 0.06, P = 0.08). Sum4skin SDS tended to decrease more (Ox 0.03, P = 0.2; Ox 0.06, P = 0.005) while UAMA SDS increased more (Ox 0.03, P < 0.001; Ox 0.06, P < 0.001) than on GH + Pl. The increase in BMI and waist circumference SDS was comparable between the dosage groups.

Conclusions: In GH-treated girls with TS, Ox 0.06 increases sitting height and tends to increase biacromial distance and decrease biiliacal distance, while Ox 0.03 significantly decreases biiliacal distance compared with height. Furthermore, Ox 0.06 reduces subcutaneous fat mass, and both Ox dosages increase muscle mass.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Androgens / administration & dosage
  • Androgens / pharmacology
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Body Size / drug effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Human Growth Hormone / administration & dosage
  • Human Growth Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Oxandrolone / administration & dosage
  • Oxandrolone / pharmacology*
  • Placebos
  • Turner Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Turner Syndrome / physiopathology


  • Androgens
  • Placebos
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Oxandrolone

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN54336338