Feasibility and preliminary effect of anabolic steroids in addition to strength training and nutritional supplement in rehabilitation of patients with hip fracture: a randomized controlled pilot trial (HIP-SAP1 trial)

Feasibility and preliminary effect of anabolic steroids in addition to strength training and nutritional supplement in rehabilitation of patients with hip fracture : a randomized controlled pilot trial (HIP-SAP1 trial) / Signe Hulsbæk, Thomas Bandholm, Ilija Ban, Nicolai Bang Foss, Jens-Erik Beck Jensen, Henrik Kehlet, Morten Tange Kristensen. - (BMC Geriatrics 21 (2021) 1 (20 May); 323)

  • PMID: 34016037
  • PMCID: PMC8136760
  • DOI: 10.1186/s12877-021-02273-z


Background: Anabolic steroid has been suggested as a supplement during hip fracture rehabilitation and a Cochrane Review recommended further trials. The aim was to determine feasibility and preliminary effect of a 12-week intervention consisting of anabolic steroid in addition to physiotherapy and nutritional supplement on knee-extension strength and function after hip fracture surgery.

Methods: Patients were randomized (1:1) during acute care to: 1. Anabolic steroid (Nandrolone Decanoate) or 2. Placebo (Saline). Both groups received identical physiotherapy (with strength training) and a nutritional supplement. Primary outcome was change in maximal isometric knee-extension strength from the week after surgery to 14 weeks. Secondary outcomes were physical performance, patient reported outcomes and body composition.

Results: Seven hundred seventeen patients were screened, and 23 randomised (mean age 73.4 years, 78% women). Target sample size was 48. Main limitations for inclusion were "not home-dwelling" (18%) and "cognitive dysfunction" (16%). Among eligible patients, the main reason for declining participation was "Overwhelmed and stressed by situation" (37%). Adherence to interventions was: Anabolic steroid 87%, exercise 91% and nutrition 61%. Addition of anabolic steroid showed a non-significant between-group difference in knee-extension strength in the fractured leg of 0.11 (95%CI -0.25;0.48) Nm/kg in favor of the anabolic group. Correspondingly, a non-significant between-group difference of 0.16 (95%CI -0.05;0.36) Nm/Kg was seen for the non-fractured leg. No significant between-group differences were identified for the secondary outcomes. Eighteen adverse reactions were identified (anabolic = 10, control = 8).

Conclusions: Early inclusion after hip fracture surgery to this trial seemed non-feasible, primarily due to slow recruitment. Although inconclusive, positive tendencies were seen for the addition of anabolic steroid.

Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT03545347 .

Keywords: Anabolic steroid; Body composition; Hip fracture; Nutritional supplement; Physical function; Physical therapy; Rehabilitation; Strength training.

Original document


Research / Study
20 May 2021
Ban, Ilija
Bandholm, Thomas
Beck Jensen, Jens-Erik
Foss, Nicolai Bang
Hulsbæk, Signe
Kehlet, Henrik
Kristensen, Morten Tange
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Københavns Universitet - University of Copenhagen (UCPH)
Københavns Universitetshospital - Copenhagen University Hospital
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S1. Anabolic Agents
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Legitimate Medical Treatment
Physical injury
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Scientific article
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Date generated
15 June 2021
Date of last modification
23 June 2021
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