Anabolic steroids for weight loss in HIV-infected individuals

Evidence Summaries

Level of Evidence = B
Administration of anabolic steroids appears to result in a small increase in both lean body mass and body weight as compared with placebo in HIV infected individuals.

A Cochrane review 1 included 13 studies with a total of 819 subjects. The average change in lean body mass was 1.3 kg (95% CI: 0.6, 2.0), while the average change in total body weight was 1.1 kg (95% CI: 0.3, 2.0). Significant heterogeneity was present for both outcomes. Four deaths occurred in both the anabolic steroid and placebo treatment groups during the treatment period. There was no difference for withdrawals or discontinuations of study medication due to adverse events.


1. Johns K, Beddall MJ, Corrin RC. Anabolic steroids for the treatment of weight loss in HIV-infected individuals. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2005 Oct 19;(4):CD005483.  [PMID:16235407]

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