Wasting

Many older studies examined the role of androgen therapy to augment body weight in patients with wasting or cachexia from a variety of underlying medical diseases as well as for cosmetic reasons in otherwise healthy people. For example, one doubleblind study treated 28 healthy men and women and 26 male patients with wasting associatedwith chronic diseases (e.g. tuberculosis, chronic degenerative disorders) with placebo or one of two doses (25 mg or 50 mg daily) of norethandrolone for 12 weeks (Watson etal. 1959). The placebo group subsequently also crossed over to active treatment for another 12 weeks. Compared with placebo, both androgen groups had significantly improved body weight gain and reported improved appetite and well being but there was no dose-response relationship. Most patients had abnormal BSP retention and nearly all women experienced some virilisation. Very few other studies, however, were well controlled and the end-point of weight gain has little validity in isolation outside the context of the overall objectives of medical management for specific illnesses (see HIV/AIDS).

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