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Eur J Pediatr. 1995 Dec;154(12):953-7.

The effect of prolonged administration of an anabolic steroid (oxandrolone) on growth in boys with constitutionally delayed growth and puberty.

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Department of Paediatrics, Free University Hospital Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Short-term oxandrolone treatment is used to stimulate growth in boys with constitutional delay of growth and puberty (CDGP). Oxandrolone stimulates growth, but a beneficial effect on final height has not been established. In our study, we report the effect of long-term treatment (30-57 months) with oxandrolone in 18 boys with CDGP, compared with nine puberty-matched, untreated controls (group 1). The oxandrolone-treated boys were divided into two groups: four boys who received oxandrolone before onset of puberty (group 2), and 14 boys who started oxandrolone therapy during Tanner stage 2 (group 3). Height standard deviation scores for calender age (HSDSCA) between the three groups of patients at Tanner stage 2 (G2) were not different: -2.86 (SD 0.56) in the controls and -2.60 (SD 0.52) in group 2 and -2.81 (SD 0.59) in group 3. Age at G2 was 15.1 (SD 1.4) years (controls), 14.6 (SD 0.5) years (group 2) and 14.0 (SD 0.9) years (group 3). Height velocity in the time span from G2 to G5 was more pronounced in the oxandrolone-treated boys: 7.7 (SD 0.5) cm/year in group 2 and 7.7 (SD 1.4) cm/year in group 3 versus 5.1 (SD 0.9) cm/year in the controls. Height gain was significantly increased in the oxandrolone treated groups: 25.8 (SD 3.8) in group 2 and 25.2 (SD 3.7) in group 3 versus 19.8 (SD 4.9) in the controls (P < 0.05). Final height did not differ significantly among the three groups: 168.5 (SD 7.0) cm in the controls and 173.0 (SD 4.0) cm in group 2 and 167.8 (SD 5.3) cm in group 3. HSDSCA increased during puberty in all three groups. At final height, HSDSCA (calculated at age = 20 years) was -2.01 (SD 1.05), -1.34 (SD 0.59) and -2.12 (SD 0.79) respectively in groups 1, 2 and 3. An effect of oxandrolone on HSDSCA was not found. Target height was neither reached by the controls nor by the treated groups. Tempo of pubertal development was not different in the three groups, and delta BA/delta CA did not alter after start of oxandrolone treatment in groups 2 and 3.


Boys with CDGP may benefit from oxandrolone treatment in terms of increased height gain. Starting treatment before the onset of puberty may be favourable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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