Anabolic and anticatabolic agents used in burn care: What is known and what is yet to be learned
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Major thermal injury induces profound metabolic derangements secondary to an inflammatory "stress-induced" hormonal environment. Several pharmacological interventions have been tested in an effort to halt the hypermetabolic response to severe burns. Insulin, insulin growth factor 1, insulin growth factor binding protein 3, metformin, human growth hormone, thyroid hormones, testosterone, oxandrolone, and propranolol, among others, have been proposed to have anabolic or anticatabolic effects. The aim of this broad analysis of pharmacological interventions was to raise awareness of treatment options and to help establishing directions for future clinical research efforts. A PubMed search was conducted on the anabolic and anticatabolic agents used in burn care. One hundred and thirty-five human studies published between 1999 and 2017 were included in this review. The pharmacological properties, rationale for the treatments, efficacy considerations and side effect profiles are summarized in the article. Many of the drugs tested for investigational purposes in the severely thermally injured are not yet gold-standard therapies in spite of their potential benefit. Propranolol and oxandrolone have shown great promise but further evidence is still needed to clarify their potential use for anabolic and anticatabolic purposes.
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