Thirty three boys (mean 14.6 years old, range 12.8-16.2 years) with constitutional delay of growth and puberty were randomised into two groups to determine which form of oral treatment would give the better anthropometric response. The two drugs were administered by mouth (one tablet/day) for a mean of 3.5 months (range 3-7 months). At randomisation, 17 boys received testosterone undecanoate (40 mg/day) and 16 oxandrolone (2.5 mg/day). At the start of treatment they were prepubertal or in early puberty, their height SD score was -1.97 in boys treated with testosterone and -2.21 in those treated with oxandrolone, and their growth rates were 4.3 and 4.2 cm/year respectively. Both sex steroid and anabolic steroid treatments induced a significant growth acceleration in all patients except four (three treated with testosterone and one with oxandrolone). When treated with the alternative sex steroid, all four non-responders had a significant anthropometric response. In all boys the induced growth acceleration was sustained when treatment was interrupted. There was no significant difference in the induced growth spurt and bone maturation between the two groups. Spontaneous progress into puberty was achieved in all boys with an increase in testicular volume from a mean of 4.6 to 8.5 ml. The rate of development in secondary sexual characteristics was also similar in the two groups. These data suggest that oral testosterone and oxandrolone are equally effective in the treatment of growth delay in boys with constitutional delay of growth and puberty.
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