Cachexia, and particularly the loss of metabolically active lean tissue, leads to increased morbidity and mortality in affected patients. An impairment of strength and functional status is usually associated with cachexia. A variety of anabolic and appetite-stimulating agents have been studied in patients with cachexia caused by various underlying diseases. Overall, these studies have demonstrated that treatment can increase body weight and/or lean body mass. However, these therapies may have severe side effects, particularly when utilizing testosterone and related anabolic steroids targeting the androgen receptor. These side effects include cardiovascular problems, prostate hyperplasia and cancer in men, as well as virilization in women.