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Adrenal Suppression and Adrenal Recovery Induced by Megestrol Acetate

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
University of Arkansas Identifier:
First received: December 13, 2007
Last updated: July 27, 2011
Last verified: July 2011

Megestrol Acetate (MA) is a progesterone-like hormone that has been utilized as a birth control agent, chemotherapeutic drug, and more recently, to induce appetite and weight gain in patients malnourished as a result of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, cystic fibrosis, AIDS, or dementia. The mechanism of MA-stimulated appetite and weight gain is unknown.

Although only approved to combat weight loss associated with AIDS and cancer, MA is frequently prescribed for long periods of time to prevent or reverse weight loss in nursing home residents and in elderly patients with serious illnesses in the community. Little data is available to support this practice. Among its many properties, MA acts as a partial glucocorticoid agonist, and long term and short term use of MA may results in adrenal suppression. The rapidity of the onset of MA-induced adrenal suppression and the time course of resumption of normal adrenal function after discontinuation of MA is completely unknown. As a consequence, it is unclear whether MA can be given safely for short periods of time or whether glucocorticoid administration is necessary after abruptly stopping MA treatment. The increased use of MA in the frail elderly, where even partial adrenal insufficiency may pose a substantial risk of adrenal crisis after an illness, requires a clear understanding of these issues. To address these concerns, we will evaluate adrenal function before, during, and after MA administration in healthy volunteers between the ages of 60 and 85 years.

Condition Intervention
Adrenal Insufficiency Drug: megestrol acetate

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Health Services Research
Official Title: Evaluation of the Time Course of Adrenal Suppression and Adrenal Recovery After Ingestion of Megestrol Acetate

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Arkansas:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Number of Participants With Adrenal Insufficiency [ Time Frame: stimulated acth stimulated cortisol levels weekly for 8 weeks or until adrenal insufficiency is encountered ]
    Number of participants with adrenal insufficiency after treatment with megestrol acetate assessed by ACTH stimulated cortisol levels less than normal (21 ug/dl) measured weekly for 8 weeks or when adrenal insufficiency is clinically encountered

  • Time Required for Recovery From Adrenal Suppression to Normal Adrenal Function [ Time Frame: weekly for up to 6 weeks ]
    the number of weeks required for participants to recover from adrenal suppression as assessed by a normal ACTH stimulation test (cortisol level >21 mcg/dl)

Enrollment: 7
Study Start Date: April 2004
Study Completion Date: December 2004
Primary Completion Date: December 2004 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: megace treatment
Study subjects will be given 600mg of MA for oral ingestion per day for duration of 8 weeks. They will be monitored every week clinically for the development of adrenal insufficiency by review of symptoms, physical exam, body weight, pulse, and blood pressure. Subjects also will undergo biochemical evaluation of adrenal status every two weeks by measurement of serum electrolytes, serum cortisol, serum adrenocorticotropic hormone(ACTH) levels, and the adrenal response to a low dose ACTH (1µgm) stimulation test(see methods).
Drug: megestrol acetate
600 mg by mouth daily


Ages Eligible for Study:   65 Years to 80 Years   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Elderly males and females
  • Age 65-80 years
  • With stable (no history of urgent/ emergent care visits with health care provider/s in the preceding 2 months), medical conditions

Exclusion Criteria:

Subjects will be excluded if they have a history of (H/O):

  • Dementia
  • Adrenal disease
  • Thromboembolism
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Liver disease
  • Electrolyte abnormalities; or
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Hypertriglyceridemia
  • CAD with CHF
  • Unstable depression
  • Schizophrenia; and
  • Morbidly obese subjects.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00575029

United States, Arkansas
University of Arkansas For Medical Sciences
Little Rock, Arkansas, United States, 72205
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Arkansas
Principal Investigator: donald l bodenner associate professor
  More Information

Responsible Party: Donald Bodenner MD, university of arkansas for medical sciences Identifier: NCT00575029     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 26835
Study First Received: December 13, 2007
Results First Received: March 31, 2011
Last Updated: July 27, 2011

Keywords provided by University of Arkansas:
megestrol acetate
adrenal insufficiency
adrenal suppression

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Adrenal Insufficiency
Adrenal Gland Diseases
Endocrine System Diseases
Megestrol Acetate
Epinephryl borate
Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
Antineoplastic Agents
Appetite Stimulants
Central Nervous System Stimulants
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Contraceptives, Oral, Synthetic
Contraceptives, Oral
Contraceptive Agents, Female
Contraceptive Agents
Reproductive Control Agents
Adrenergic alpha-Agonists
Adrenergic Agonists
Adrenergic Agents
Neurotransmitter Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Adrenergic beta-Agonists
Bronchodilator Agents
Autonomic Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Anti-Asthmatic Agents
Respiratory System Agents
Mydriatics processed this record on June 22, 2017