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PELIOSIS HEPATIS, A CONDITION IN WHICH LIVER AND SOMETIMES SPLENIC TISSUE IS REPLACED WITH BLOOD-FILLED CYSTS, HAS BEEN REPORTED IN PATIENTS RECEIVING ANDROGENIC ANABOLIC STEROID THERAPY. THESE CYSTS ARE SOMETIMES PRESENT WITH MINIMAL HEPATIC DYSFUNCTION, BUT AT OTHER TIMES THEY HAVE BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH LIVER FAILURE. THEY ARE OFTEN NOT RECOGNIZED UNTIL LIFE-THREATENING LIVER FAILURE OR INTRA-ABDOMINAL HEMORRHAGE DEVELOPS. WITHDRAWAL OF DRUG USUALLY RESULTS IN COMPLETE DISAPPEARANCE OF LESIONS. LIVER CELL TUMORS ARE ALSO REPORTED. MOST OFTEN THESE TUMORS ARE BENIGN AND ANDROGEN-DEPENDENT, BUT FATAL MALIGNANT TUMORS HAVE BEEN REPORTED. WITHDRAWAL OF DRUG OFTEN RESULTS IN REGRESSION OR CESSATION OF PROGRESSION OF THE TUMOR. HOWEVER, HEPATIC TUMORS ASSOCIATED WITH ANDROGENS OR ANABOLIC STEROIDS ARE MUCH MORE VASCULAR THAN OTHER HEPATIC TUMORS AND MAY BE SILENT UNTIL LIFE-THREATENING INTRA-ABDOMINAL HEMORRHAGE DEVELOPS. BLOOD LIPID CHANGES THAT ARE KNOWN TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASED RISK OF ATHEROSCLEROSIS ARE SEEN IN PATIENTS TREATED WITH ANDROGENS OR ANABOLIC STEROIDS. THESE CHANGES INCLUDE DECREASED HIGH-DENSITY LIPOPROTEINS AND SOMETIMES INCREASED LOW-DENSITY LIPOPROTEINS. THE CHANGES MAY BE VERY MARKED AND COULD HAVE A SERIOUS IMPACT ON THE RISK OF ATHEROSCLEROSIS AND CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE.
Anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives of testosterone. Certain clinical effects and adverse reactions demonstrate the androgenic properties of this class of drugs. Complete dissociation of anabolic and androgenic effects has not been achieved. The actions of anabolic steroids are therefore similar to those of male sex hormones with the possibility of causing serious disturbances of growth and sexual development if given to young children. Anabolic steroids suppress the gonadotropic functions of the pituitary and may exert a direct effect upon the testes.
During exogenous administration of anabolic androgens, endogenous testosterone release is inhibited through inhibition of pituitary luteinizing hormone (LH). At large doses, spermatogenesis may be suppressed through feedback inhibition of pituitary follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
INDICATIONS AND USAGE
Oxandrolone is indicated as adjunctive therapy to offset the protein catabolism associated with prolonged administration of corticosteroids, and for the relief of the bone pain frequently accompanying osteoporosis (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE
Cholestatic hepatitis and jaundice may occur with 17-alpha-alkylated androgens at a relatively low dose. If cholestatic hepatitis with jaundice appears or if liver function tests become abnormal, oxandrolone should be discontinued and the etiology should be determined. Drug-induced jaundice is reversible when the medication is discontinued.
Edema with or without congestive heart failure may be a serious complication in patients with pre-existing cardiac, renal, or hepatic disease. Concomitant administration of adrenal cortical steroid or ACTH may increase the edema.
In children, androgen therapy may accelerate bone maturation without producing compensatory gain in linear growth. This adverse effect results in compromised adult height. The younger the child, the greater the risk of compromising final mature height. The effect on bone maturation should be monitored by assessing bone age of the left wrist and hand every 6 months (see PRECAUTIONS, LaboratoryTests).
Geriatric patients treated with androgenic anabolic steroids may be at an increased risk for the development of prostatic hypertrophy and prostatic carcinoma. ANABOLIC STEROIDS HAVE NOT BEEN SHOWN TO ENHANCE ATHLETIC ABILITY.
Concurrent dosing of oxandrolone and warfarin may result in unexpectedly large increases in the International Normalized Ratio (INR) or prothrombin time (PT). When oxandrolone is prescribed to patients being treated with warfarin, doses of warfarin may need to be decreased significantly to maintain the desirable INR level and diminish the risk of potentially serious bleeding (see PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions).
Women should be observed for signs of virilization (deepening of the voice, hirsutism, acne, clitoromegaly). Discontinuation of drug therapy at the time of evidence of mild virilism is necessary to prevent irreversible virilization. Some virilizing changes in women are irreversible even after prompt discontinuance of therapy and are not prevented by concomitant use of estrogens. Menstrual irregularities may also occur.
Information for Patients
Periodic (every 6 months) x-ray examinations of bone age should be made during treatment of children to determine the rate of bone maturation and the effects of androgen therapy on the epiphyseal centers.
Androgenic anabolic steroids have been reported to increase low-density lipoproteins and decrease high-density lipoproteins. Therefore, caution is required when administering these agents to patients with a history of cardiovascular disease or who are at risk for cardiovascular disease. Serum determination of lipid levels should be performed periodically and therapy adjusted accordingly.
Anabolic steroids may increase sensitivity to oral anticoagulants. Dosage of the anticoagulant may have to be decreased in order to maintain desired prothrombin time. Patients receiving oral anticoagulant therapy require close monitoring, especially when anabolic steroids are started or stopped.
A multidose study of oxandrolone, given as 5 or 10 mg BID in 15 healthy subjects concurrently treated with warfarin, resulted in a mean increase in S-warfarin half-life from 26 to 48 hours and AUC from 4.55 to 12.08 ng•hr/mL; similar increases in R-warfarin half-life and AUC were also detected. Microscopic hematuria (9/15) and gingival bleeding (1/15) were also observed. A 5.5-fold decrease in the mean warfarin dose from 6.13 mg/day to 1.13 mg/day (approximately 80-85% reduction of warfarin dose), was necessary to maintain a target INR of 1.5. When oxandrolone therapy is initiated in a patient already receiving treatment with warfarin, the INR or prothrombin time (PT) should be monitored closely and the dose of warfarin adjusted as necessary until a stable target INR or PT has been achieved.
Furthermore, in patients receiving both drugs, careful monitoring of the INR or PT, and adjustment of the warfarin dosage if indicated are recommended when the oxandrolone dose is changed or discontinued. Patients should be closely monitored for signs and symptoms of occult bleeding.
Drug/Laboratory Test Interactions
Anabolic steroids may decrease levels of thyroxine-binding globulin, resulting in decreased total T4 serum levels and increased resin uptake of T3 and T4. Free thyroid hormone levels remain unchanged. In addition, a decrease in PBI and radioactive iodine uptake may occur.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Oxandrolone has not been tested in laboratory animals for carcinogenic or mutagenic effects. In 2-year chronic oral rat studies, a dose-related reduction of spermatogenesis and decreased organ weights (testes, prostate, seminal vesicles, ovaries, uterus, adrenals, and pituitary) were shown.
Liver cell tumors have been reported in patients receiving long-term therapy with androgenic anabolic steroids in high doses (see WARNINGS). Withdrawal of the drugs did not lead to regression of the tumors in all cases.
It is not known whether anabolic steroids are excreted in human milk. Because of the potential of serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from oxandrolone, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
Anabolic agents may accelerate epiphyseal maturation more rapidly than linear growth in children and the effect may continue for 6 months after the drug has been stopped. Therefore, therapy should be monitored by x-ray studies at 6-month intervals in order to avoid the risk of compromising adult height. Androgenic anabolic steroid therapy should be used very cautiously in children and only by specialists who are aware of the effects on bone maturation (see WARNINGS).
Cholestatic jaundice with, rarely, hepatic necrosis and death. Hepatocellular neoplasms and peliosis hepatis with long-term therapy (see WARNINGS). Reversible changes in liver function tests also occur including increased bromsulfophthalein (BSP) retention, changes in alkaline phosphatase and increases in serum bilirubin, aspartate aminotransferase (AST, SGOT) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT, SGPT).
Fluid and Electrolytes
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
Therapy with anabolic steroids is adjunctive to and not a replacement for conventional therapy. The duration of therapy with oxandrolone will depend on the response of the patient and the possible appearance of adverse reactions. Therapy should be intermittent.
The response of individuals to anabolic steroids varies. The daily adult dosage is 2.5 mg to 20 mg given in 2 to 4 divided doses. The desired response may be achieved with as little as 2.5 mg or as much as 20 mg daily. A course of therapy of 2 to 4 weeks is usually adequate. This may be repeated intermittently as indicated.
Revised: 07/2010 Par Pharmaceutical Inc.
Reproduced with permission of U.S. National Library of Medicine
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