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November 22, 1965

Growth and Bone-Age Retardation in Cystic FibrosisResponse to an Anabolic Steroid

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas Medical Center, Little Rock. Dr. Dennis is now at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, Oklahoma City.

JAMA. 1965;194(8):855-858. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090210019005

Children with cystic fibrosis respond to anabolic steroids with increments in height and weight; a regression of clubbing and cyanosis of digits; increased muscle tone, physical tolerance, and cheerfulness; enlargement of the phallus; and advances in skeletal maturation. In contrast to normal children who have been given anabolic steroids, the height gain in children with cystic fibrosis was relatively greater than the weight gain; increments in bone age were slightly greater than either. The degree of bone-age deficit present appears to correlate with the severity of the disease, hence patients with severe disease can be treated with steroids for longer periods of time than those who have minimal involvement. Anabolic steroids did not alter sweat chloride patterns. Anabolic steroid therapy for cystic fibrosis must be considered palliative, temporary, and still somewhat experimental. Only prolonged studies of a longitudinal nature can determine whether such therapy will affect the ultimate stature of these patients.