Oxandrolone is used with a diet program to cause weight gain in people who have lost too much weight due to surgery, injury, chronic (long-lasting) infections, trauma, or who are underweight for unknown reasons. Oxandrolone is also used to treat bone pain in people with osteoporosis (a condition in which the bones become thin and weak and break easily) and to prevent certain side effects in people who take corticosteroids (a group of medications used to treat many conditions that involve inflammation or swelling of part of the body) for a long time. Oxandrolone is in a class of medications called androgenic hormones. It works by increasing the amount of protein made by the body. This protein is used to build more muscle and increase body weight.

Side Effects Of Oxandrolone

Oxandrolone may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • enlargement of the breasts
  • changes in sex drive or ability

Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them or those listed in the WARNING section, call your doctor immediately. Some of these side effects may never go away if they are not treated immediately:

  • swelling of the arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • new or worsening acne (especially in women and prepubertal men)
  • enlargement of the clitoris, deepening of the voice, increase in facial hair, and baldness(in women)
  • abnormal or absent menstrual periods
  • erections of the penis that happen too often or do not go away
  • enlarged penis
  • pain, swelling, or decreased size of testes
  • frequent, difficult, or painful urination
  • inability to control urination
  • Oxandrolone may prevent normal growth in children. Children who take oxandrolone may be shorter as adults than they would have been if they had not taken the medication. Oxandrolone is more likely to interfere with the growth of younger children than older children. Your child’s doctor will take x-rays regularly to be sure your child is growing normally. Talk to your child’s doctor about the risks of giving this medication to your child.
  • Oxandrolone may decrease fertility in men. Talk to your doctor if your partner plans to become pregnant while you are taking oxandrolone.

Oxandrolone may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

Warnings & Precautions

Before taking oxandrolone:

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to oxandrolone, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in oxandrolone tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven); corticotrophin (ACTH, Acthar); oral medications for diabetes; or oral steroids such as dexamethasone, methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone (Rayos). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had high levels of calcium in your blood, breast cancer, prostate (a male reproductive organ) cancer, or kidney disease. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take oxandrolone.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; a group of diseases that affect the lungs and airways), or liver disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You should not become pregnant during your treatment with oxandrolone. If you become pregnant while taking oxandrolone, call your doctor immediately. Oxandrolone may harm the fetus.

Oxandrolone Dosage

Oxandrolone comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken two to four times a day. To help you remember to take oxandrolone, take it around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take oxandrolone exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Your doctor will probably tell you to take oxandrolone for 2 to 4 weeks. You may need to take oxandrolone for an additional time period depending on your condition.


Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking oxandrolone. Oxandrolone may affect the results of certain laboratory tests.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Oxandrolone has not been shown to improve athletic ability. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.