Megestrol acetate (MA) may safely increase serum albumin in malnourished dialysis patients, according to researchers in Iran.

Ali Monfared, MD, and colleagues at the Guilan University of Medical Science in Rasht tested the medication in 22 malnourished dialysis patients with persistent hypoalbuminemia (albumin level less than 3.5 g/dL for two months).

They randomized subjects to receive MA 40 mg twice daily over two months or not to receive this treatment (controls). After two months, the mean serum albumin level in the MA group rose from 3.31 to 4.41 g/dL, whereas it declined in the control arm from 3.35 to 3.02 g/dL, a significant difference between the groups, the investigators reported in the Journal of Renal Nutrition (2009;19:167-171).

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