International Urology and Nephrology

, Volume 51, Issue 9, pp 1631–1638 | Cite as

The effects of megestrol acetate on nutrition, inflammation and quality of life in elderly haemodialysis patients

  • Zhigui ZhengEmail author
  • Jianguo Chen
  • Dongyuan He
  • Yuankai Xu
  • Lili Chen
  • Ting Zhang
Nephrology - Original Paper



Malnutrition, inflammation and poor quality of life are prevalent among elderly haemodialysis patients. Megestrol acetate (MA) is a synthetic progestin that is widely used to increase appetite and weight in various clinical settings. MA has been indicated to be effective in improving quality of life in patients with cancers. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of MA in treating malnourished elderly haemodialysis patients.


A randomized controlled study involving 46 hypoalbuminemia haemodialysis patients aged 70 years or older was conducted. The patients in MA-treated group (n = 23) took 160 mg of MA daily, while those in control group (n = 23) were enrolled without any intervention. Anthropometric parameters and laboratory results, including height, dry weight, body mass index, and modified subjective global assessment score as well as serum albumin, triglyceride, total cholesterol, hsCRP, IL-1b and IL-6 concentrations were measured in all patients before and after the intervention. Health-related quality of life was also evaluated using the KDQOL-SF 1.3.


In the MA-treated group, a total of 18 patients finished the therapy over a 3-month period. Appetite was reported as improved by 15 patients, and a statistically significant increase was observed in dry weight (53.36 ± 6.15 vs. 54.24 ± 6.32, P < 0.01) and serum albumin concentration (29.05 ± 3.91 vs. 37.67 ± 4.88, P < 0.01) in the MA-treated group compared to those of the control group. The quality of life in both the physical domain (46.73 ± 18.17 vs. 63.37 ± 22.35, P < 0.01) and the mental domain (50.28 ± 20.36 vs. 68.02 ± 25.48, P < 0.01) was also improved in the same group. There was no significant change in the inflammatory marker concentrations after the intervention. No serious or unexpected adverse events were observed except that one patient who withdrew due to excessive fluid gain between haemodialysis sessions.


Our data suggest that MA can be effective in improving nutritional status and quality of life by increasing appetite in elderly haemodialysis patients with acceptable side effects; however, MA might not ameliorate inflammation.


Megestrol acetate Haemodialysis Malnutrition Quality of life 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NephrologyZhejiang HospitalHangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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