Question

Androgen

What is DHEA used for?

A Answers (2)

  • AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    DHEA used in supplemental form to treat medical conditions is controversial. Although there are many claims of the effectiveness of DHEA for treating a variety of conditions, in more serious conditions like cardiovascular disease, cervical cancer, and HIV/AIDS, more established therapies are recommended. Addison's disease, a rare disease also known as primary adrenal insufficiency, has gained FDA approval for very limited use of DHEA as treatment, and the effects remain controversial. Positive results have been shown in treating systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in the short term, but long term effectiveness is still debated. Although results of studies remain inconclusive for many conditions, DHEA has been promoted as beneficial to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), high glucose levels, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, sex drive, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis in the elderly or the young as a result of anorexia or corticosteroid use, schizophrenia, depression, cataracts, infertility, induction of labor, menopausal symptoms, asthma, obesity, cocaine withdrawal, and Crohn's disease. DHEA use has been banned for use by Olympic athletes because of the possible benefits to building muscle mass. In topical creams and gel form, DHEA is available commercially to restore vaginal tone, collagen, oils, and proteins in the skin, thus preventing wrinkling from sun exposure or age.

  • Adrenal insufficiency

    Several studies suggest that DHEA may improve well-being, quality of life, exercise capacity, sex drive, and hormone levels in people with insufficient adrenal function (Addison's disease). Though promising, additional study is needed to make a strong recommendation. Adrenal insufficiency is a serious medical condition and should be treated under the supervision of a qualified health care professional, including a pharmacist.

    Depression

    The majority of clinical trials investigating the effect of DHEA on depression support its use for this purpose under the guidance of specialist. Further research is needed to confirm these results.

    Obesity

    The majority of clinical trials investigating the effect of DHEA on weight or fat loss support its use for this purpose. Further research is needed to confirm these results.

    Systemic lupus erythematosus

    The majority of clinical trials investigating the effect of DHEA for systemic lupus erythematosus support its use as an adjunct treatment. Additional study is needed to confirm these results.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

    Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

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