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Nutr Clin Pract. 2004 Aug;19(4):395-402.

Combination megestrol acetate, oxandrolone, and dietary advice restores weight in human immunodeficiency virus.

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Tufts-New England Medical Center, Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Boston, MA, 02111, USA.



We examined changes in total body weight (TBW) and health-related quality of life (HRQL) during prolonged combination weight-gaining therapy and dietary advice in HIV.


This was a cohort study of patients initially randomized to single agent therapy for 2 months, megestrol acetate (800 mg daily), or oxandrolone (10 mg twice daily), followed by both agents and dietary advice for 5 months.


Two community health clinics and 1 urban infectious disease clinic were included, as were HIV-positive adult patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy with documented 5% weight loss. TBW and HRQL were measured after 7 months (7 m).


Twenty-nine of 39 participants completed 7 m. The average sample age was 40 years, 75% were male, and 52% were of color at enrollment. Baseline mean TBW and body mass index (BMI) were 62.5 kg and 21 kg/m(2), respectively. Net gains in TBW, lean body mass, and fat during the 7 m were 5.3 kg (8.5% of baseline), 2.1 kg, and 3.1 kg, respectively (p < .01 for each). BMI increased to 23.1 kg/m(2) (p < .01). Dietary intake increased by 467 kcal/day (p = .03). Physical health improved by 5.7 (100-point scale, p < .01), and mental health was unchanged (-4.2, p = .11). In multivariable models, female gender (p < .01), lower baseline HIV viral load (p = .03), and increasing age (p < .01) were associated with TBW gain. Injection drug use (p < .01) and higher baseline HIV viral load (p < .01) were associated with reduction in physical health.


Prolonged combination therapy with megestrol acetate, oxandrolone, and dietary advice could reverse weight loss and low BMI associated with incomplete viral suppression and improve physical health.

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