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Oxandrolone Treatment for Pressure Ulcers FREE

[+] Article and Author Information

The full report is titled “The Effect of Oxandrolone on the Healing of Chronic Pressure Ulcers in Persons With Spinal Cord Injury. A Randomized Trial.” It is in the 21 May 2013 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 158, pages 718-726). The authors are W.A. Bauman, A.M. Spungen, J.F. Collins, D.W. Raisch, C. Ho, G.A. Deitrick, B.A. Nemchausky, L.L. Goetz, J.S. Park, M. Schwartz, J.L. Merritt, V. Jayawardena, P. Sandford, S. Sabharwal, S.A. Holmes, F. Nasar, R. Sasaki, V. Punj, K.F. Zachow, W.C. Chua, M.D. Thomas, and R.C. Trincher


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Ann Intern Med. 2013;158(10):I-20. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-158-10-201305210-00002
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What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Pressure ulcers are a common medical problem among people confined to a wheelchair or bed for long periods. Also known as bedsores, they occur when prolonged pressure reduces blood flow to an area, injuring the skin and underlying tissues. The resulting ulcers can be painful and difficult to treat; if they do not heal, they can lead to serious complications, including death. Anabolic steroids, such as oxandrolone, have shown promise in healing chronic pressure ulcers; however, research on their use is limited.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

To learn whether oxandrolone helps to heal severe pressure ulcers.

Who was studied?

779 veterans with spinal cord injury and severe pressure ulcers of the pelvic region (such as the tailbone or buttocks).

How was the study done?

Between August 2005 and November 2008, researchers enrolled patients from 16 Veterans Affairs medical centers. There was a screening phase and a treatment phase. During the screening phase, patients received standard medical care, including wound care, debridement, and pressure relief of the ulcer. Doctors could also use extra treatments, such as ultraviolet light, laser therapy, hyperbaric oxygen, and electrical stimulation. After 4 weeks, 108 patients with pressure ulcers that had not healed were randomly assigned to receive 20 mg of oxandrolone daily and 104 were randomly assigned to receive placebo. Patients remained in treatment until their ulcer had fully healed or for 24 weeks, whichever occurred first. The researchers also followed patients whose ulcers healed to determine whether they stayed healed.

What did the researchers find?

Forty-three patients assigned to receive oxandrolone and 37 assigned to receive placebo did not complete treatment. Of those who completed treatment, pressure ulcers healed in 24% of the oxandrolone group and 30% of the placebo group. Ulcers remained healed in 17% of those who received oxandrolone versus 15% of those who received placebo. Use of oxandrolone was not associated with any serious adverse events.

What were the limitations of the study?

Approximately one third of the patients did not complete treatment.

What are the implications of the study?

Oxandrolone did not seem to improve healing of severe pressure ulcers, nor did it help to keep the ulcers healed.

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