Two studies by one group of investigators have examined whether oxandrolone (20 mg each day) can speed rehabilitation after severe burn injury (Demling 1999; Demling and DeSanti 1997; Demling and DeSanti 2001; Demling and Orgill 2000). The first study randomised 13 patients with severe burns receiving usual rehabilitation and high-protein supplementation to also receive oxandrolone or not for at least three weeks during the recovery phase of burn treatment (Demling and DeSanti 1997). The second study additionally stratified 40 patients by age before randomisation (Demling and DeSanti 2001). Although staff performing rehabilitation measurements may not have been blinded, both studies reported significant weight gain (including lean mass) and improved rehabilitation regardless of age, (Demling and DeSanti 1997; Demling and DeSanti 2001).

Two studies have examined whether short-term pharmacological androgen therapy can improve rehabilitation in older men. The first randomised 25 men scheduled for knee replacement to receive weekly doses of 300 mg testosterone enanthate or matched placebo during three weeks before surgery (Amory et al. 2002). The second randomised 15 men admitted to hospital for general physical rehabilitation to receive weekly injections of 100 mg testosterone enanthate or placebo for 2 months (Bakhshi etal. 2000). Small improvements in Functional Independence Measure (FIM) score and strength (hand-grip dynamometry) were reported only in the latter study which, however, suffered from the limitations of small sample size, non-matching saline placebo, and unbalanced groups despite randomisation (Honkanen and Lesser 2001).

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