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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015 Nov;47(11):2257-67. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000690.

Oxandrolone Augmentation of Resistance Training in Older Women: A Randomized Trial.

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1Exercise Health and Performance Faculty Research Group, University of Sydney, Sydney, AUSTRALIA; 2Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife, Boston, MA; 3Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston, MA; 4Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; 5New England GRECC, Boston VA Healthcare System, Boston, MA; 6Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; 7Oncology Clinical Research, Takeda, Boston, MA; 8Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Cambridge, MA; 9Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory, Jean Mayer United States Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA; and 10Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, AUSTRALIA.



Sarcopenia is disproportionately present in older women with disability, and optimum treatment is not clear. We conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to determine whether oxandrolone administration in elderly women improves body composition or physical function beyond that which occurs in response to progressive resistance training (PRT).


Twenty-nine sedentary women (age 74.9 ± 6.8 yr; 5.9 ± 2.8 medications per day) were randomized to receive high-intensity PRT (three times a week for 12 wk) combined with either oxandrolone (10 mg·d(-1)) or an identical placebo. Peak strength was assessed for leg press, chest press, triceps, knee extension, and knee flexion. Power was assessed for leg press and chest press. Physical function measures included static and dynamic balance, chair rise, stair climb, gait speed, and 6-min walk test. Body composition was assessed using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry.


Oxandrolone treatment augmented increases in lean tissue for the whole body (2.6 kg; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.0-4.2 kg; P = 0.003), arms (0.3 kg; 95% CI, 0.1-0.5 kg; P = 0.001), legs (0.8 kg; 95% CI, 0.1-1.4 kg; P = 0.018), and trunk (1.4 kg; 95% CI, 0.4-2.3 kg; P = 0.004). Oxandrolone also augmented loss of fat tissue of the whole body (-1 kg; 95% CI, -1.6 to -0.4; P = 0.002), arms (-0.2 kg; 95% CI, -0.5 to -0.02 kg; P = 0.032), legs (-0.4 kg; 95% CI, -0.6 to -0.1; P = 0.009), and tended to reduce trunk fat (-0.4 kg; 95% CI, -0.9 to 0.04; P = 0.07). Improvements in muscle strength and power, chair stand, and dynamic balance were all significant over time (P < 0.05) but not different between groups (P > 0.05).


Oxandrolone improves body composition adaptations to PRT in older women over 12 wk without augmenting muscle function or functional performance beyond that of PRT alone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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