In the past, several hormones have been investigated with the hope of finding a drug which would stimulate the growth of premature infants. Injections of chorionic gonadotropin by Giuffrida,1 in 1936, produced no effect. In 1938, Moncrieff2 found no significant response to thyroid extracts. Estrogens have been tried3-5 and were found to produce no constant effect. Testosterone compounds presented more promising possibilities in the early studies of Shelton6,7 and Earle8; however, later studies by Hardy and Wilkins,9 Seitchik and Agerty,10 and Reilly and Earle11 found this steroid to be of no value in promoting growth of premature infants. Currently, the prevailing opinion is that no hormonal agent has proved to be of value in accelerating the rate of growth in premature infants.
Recently, a new anabolic compound, 17-α-ethyl-17-hydroxynorandrostenone (Nilevar), has been synthesized. Structurally its similarity to testosterone may be represented as shown in