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A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study was conducted in 46 postmenopausal women with established osteoporosis in order to assess the long-term effects of nandrolone decanoate on the bone mineral density (BMD) of the lumbar vertebrae and of the distal third of the radius and on the biochemical markers of bone turnover. The patients received intramuscular injections of placebo or 50 mg nandrolone decanoate every 3 weeks for 18 months. Thirty-two of the initial 46 patients completed 1 year of study and 25 completed the whole study period of 18 months. Overall, vertebral BMD increased by 2.9% in the nandrolone decanoate group and fell by 2.3% in the placebo group. Radial BMD showed a slight but transient improvement, with a subsequent return to basal levels in the nandrolone decanoate group, whereas there was a progressive decrease in the placebo group. Patients treated with nandrolone decanoate also complained less of bone pain. Urinary hydroxyproline decreased significantly in treated patients, whereas osteocalcin tended to increase, but the change was not significant. HDL cholesterol concentrations decreased only slightly and haemoglobin increased significantly in the nandrolone decanoate group. Two patients treated with nandrolone decanoate withdrew from the study because of hirsutism and hoarseness. The results indicate that nandrolone decanoate exerts positive effects on vertebral BMD and on bone pain in patients with established postmenopausal osteoporosis.
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Accepted: February 10, 1993
Received in revised form: February 9, 1993
Received: September 16, 1992
© 1993 Published by Elsevier Inc.