Safety and efficacy of oxandrolone in growth hormone-treated girls with Turner syndrome: evidence from recent studies and recommendations for use

Horm Res Paediatr. 2014;81(5):289-97. doi: 10.1159/000358195.


There has been no consensus regarding the efficacy and safety of oxandrolone (Ox) in addition to growth hormone (GH) in girls with Turner syndrome (TS), the optimal age of starting this treatment, or the optimal dose. This collaborative venture between Dutch, UK and US centers is intended to give a summary of the data from three recently published randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind studies on the effects of Ox. The published papers from these studies were reviewed within the group of authors to reach consensus about the recommendations. The addition of Ox to GH treatment leads to an increase in adult height, on average 2.3–4.6 cm. If Ox dosages<0.06 mg/kg/day are used, side effects are modest. The most relevant safety concerns are virilization(including clitoromegaly and voice deepening) and a transient delay of breast development. We advise monitoring signs of virilization breast development and possibly blood lipids during Ox treatment, in addition to regular follow-up assessments for TS. In girls with TS who are severely short for age, in whom very short adult stature is anticipated,or in whom the growth rate is modest despite good compliance with GH, adjunctive treatment with Ox at a dosage of 0.03–0.05 mg/kg/day starting from the age of 8–10 years onward scan be considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Androgens / adverse effects
  • Androgens / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Human Growth Hormone / adverse effects
  • Human Growth Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Oxandrolone / adverse effects
  • Oxandrolone / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Turner Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Turner Syndrome / physiopathology*


  • Androgens
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Oxandrolone