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February 1961

Muscular Dystrophy Treated with Norethandrolone

Author Affiliations


From the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, Northwestern University; the Montgomery Ward Clinic, Northwestern Medical School, and the Childrens Neurology Clinic, Cook County Hospital.

Arch Intern Med. 1961;107(2):245-251. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620020095009

Norethandrolone (17α-ethyl-19-nortestosterone, Nilevar) is an anabolic and myotrophic steroid,1-3 which increases the rate of synthesis of endogenous creatine.4 When administered to mice afflicted with an hereditary disease resembling human muscular dystrophy, norethandrolone increased the median survival time from an average of 13 weeks in control dystrophic mice to 33 weeks at a dosage level of 5 mg/kg. body weight thrice weekly and to 22 weeks in doses of 0.5 mg/kg. body weight thrice weekly.5 Treatment of dystrophic mice with norethandrolone did not result in improved strength; it merely slowed the rate of progression of the disease. Force-feeding and administration of testosterone propionate did not prolong significantly the survival of dystrophic mice. In view of these findings, a clinical trial of norethandrolone therapy was undertaken in patients with muscular dystrophy.

Materials and Methods  A total of 52 patients with muscle disease were enrolled in a "double blind" study;

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