Megestrol acetate in patients with AIDS-related cachexia

Jamie H. Von Roenn*, Donald Armstrong, Donald P. Kotler, David L. Cohn, Nancy G. Klimas, N. S. Tchekmedyian, Lawrence Cone, Patrick J. Brennan, Sigmund A. Weitzman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

225 Scopus citations


Objectives: To compare the effects of oral suspensions of megestrol acetate, 800 mg/d, and placebo on body weight in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related weight loss. Design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Setting: Outpatient community and university patient care setting. Patients: Consecutive patients with AIDS who had substantial weight loss and anorexia were enrolled. Of 271 patients, 270 and 195 were evaluable for safety and efficacy, respectively. Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to receive placebo or megestrol acetate (100 mg, 400 mg, or 800 mg) daily for 12 weeks. Main Outcome Measures: The primary efficacy criterion was weight gain. Patients were evaluated at 4-week intervals for changes in weight and body composition, caloric intake, sense of well-being, toxic effects, and appetite. Results: For evaluable patients receiving 800 mg of megestrol acetate per day, 64.2% gained 2.27 kg (5 pounds) or more compared with 21.4% of patients receiving placebo (P<0.001). An intent-to-treat analysis showed significant differences (P=0.002) between those receiving placebo and those receiving 800 mg of megestrol acetate for the number of patients who gained 2.27 kg (5 pounds) or more (8 of 32 [25%] compared with 38 of 61 [62.3%], respectively). Compared with patients receiving placebo at the time of maximum weight change, evaluable patients receiving megestrol acetate, 800 mg/d, reported improvement in overall well-being and had an increase in mean weight gain (-0.725 compared with 3.54 kg [-1.6 compared with +7.8 pounds]; P<0.001), lean body mass (-0.772 compared with +1.14 kg [-1.7 compared with +2.5 pounds]; P<0.001), appetite grade (P<0.001), and caloric intake (-107 compared with +645.6 calories/d; P=0.001). Conclusions: In patients with AIDS-related weight loss, megestrol acetate can stimulate appetite, food intake, and statistically significant weight gain that is associated with a patient-reported improvement in an overall sense of well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-399
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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