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Korean J Intern Med. 2002 Sep;17(3):167-73.

Effects of adjuvant androgen on anemia and nutritional parameters in chronic hemodialysis patients using low-dose recombinant human erythropoietin.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Wonkwang University School of Medicine, Iksan, Korea.



Recombiant human erythropoietin (epoetin) has greatly contributed to improvement of the anemia of chronic renal failure patients on hemodialysis. However, the reduced erythropoietic effect to epoetin and its high cost have induced lots of supplementary treatments. Therefore, we performed a prospective study to evaluate the effects of adjuvant low-dose androgen therapy in patients using a lower-dose of epoetin than the commonly recommended dose on anemia and the nutritional parameters.


17 patients of hemoglobin (Hgb) less than 9 g/dL even after being treated with 1,000 U epoetin subcutaneously (s.c.) 3 times per week on a stable status for more than 6 months, who were on hemodialysis at our institution were examined. They were injected with the same dose of epoetin s.c. and nandrolone decanoate 100 mg intramuscularly (i.m.) weekly for another 6 months. Blood test was performed every month before therapy for 6 months and after therapy for 6 months and the mean values were reviewed for comparison.


Hgb (7.75 +/- 0.9 vs 8.99 +/- 1.39 g/dL, p < 0.01) and hematocrit (Hct) (23.68 +/- 2.85 vs 26.66 +/- 3.91%, p < 0.01) were apparently changed before and after adjuvant therapy. Hgb and Hct, weekly dose of epoetin were not statistically different in 9 male patients before and after adjuvant therapy. The weekly dose of epoetin was not statistically different in 8 female patients, but Hgb and Hct (8.02 +/- 0.6 vs 9.72 +/- 1.31 g/dL, 24.54 +/- 1.7 vs 28.74 +/- 3.06%, p < 0.01) were statistically different before and after adjuvant therapy. In comparison between male and female groups, weekly doses of epoetin and nandrolone decanoate were significantly greater in the female group than the male group (epoetin: 50.66 +/- 6.23 vs 61.18 +/- 8.76 U/kg/week, nandrolone decanoate: 1.69 +/- 0.2 vs 2.04 +/- 0.29 mg/kg/week, p < 0.05).


Our data show that the adjuvant androgen therapy is effective for the anemia of hemodialysis patients who did not recover from anemia even after being continuously treated with low-dose epoetin.

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