(HealthDay News) – Among patients with spinal cord injury (SCI), oxandrolone is no more effective than placebo for healing target pressure ulcers (TPUs), according to a study published in the May 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

William A. Bauman, MD, from the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bronx, NY, and colleagues randomly assigned 212 inpatients with SCI and stage III or IV TPUs from 16 inpatient SCI Services at Veterans Affairs Medical Centers to receive oxandrolone, 20mg/day (108 patients), or placebo (104 patients) for 24 weeks or until the TPU healed.

The researchers found that, among the oxandrolone recipients, 24.1% of TPUs healed, compared with 29.8% among placebo recipients (P=0.4). At eight-week follow-up, a healed TPU was retained among 16.7% of oxandrolone recipients and 15.4% of placebo recipients (P=0.7). There were no oxandrolone-related serious adverse events, although liver enzyme levels were significantly elevated in oxandrolone recipients vs. placebo recipients (32.4% vs. 2.9%).

“Use of an anabolic steroid to increase the healing of nonhealing chronic pressure ulcers in patients with SCI is probably not sufficient to hasten wound closure in the absence of identifying and removing other local or systemic factors that impede the complex process of wound repair,” the authors write.

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