Beneficial effect of cyproheptadine on body mass index in undernourished children: a randomized controlled trial

Iran J Pediatr. 2014 Dec;24(6):753-8. Epub 2014 Dec 12.


Objective: Cyproheptadine hydrochloride (CH) is a first-generation antihistamine which is used as an appetite stimulant. This study was designed to identify the role of CH therapy on weight gain, linear growth and body mass index in children with mild to moderate undernutrition.

Methods: Eighty-nine patients were enrolled. The present randomized, double-blinded controlled trial included 77 evaluable patients, aged 24-64 months with undernutrition. The patients were randomized to receive cyproheptadine with multivitamin, or multivitamin over a period of four weeks. The weight, height and body mass index were measured at the baseline, four weeks after intervention and four weeks after discontinuation.

Findings: A significant higher body mass index was observed among CH-treated patients after 8 weeks intervention with cyproheptadine compared with the control group (P<0.041). Mean weight gain after eight weeks was 0.11 kg in the control group and 0.60 kg in the CH group. There were no significant differences in changes of weight and height velocity across the study between CH-treated and control group at the end of study.

Conclusion: In our study, cyproheptadine promotes increase in body mass index in children with mild to moderate undernutrition after four weeks treatment.

Keywords: Body Mass Index; Children; Clinical Trial; Cyproheptadine; Malnutrition; Weight Gain.