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DHEA for depression

Posted by andrewb on November 16, 1999, at 15:32:16

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a hormone available in health food stores, can effectively treat depression in some according to the studies quoted below. DHEA tends to decrease with age. Your DHEA levels can be determined with a blood test, consult your physician. Excessive amounts of DHEA may be harmful to one’s health.
Source Biol Psychiatry 1999 Jun 15;45(12):1533-41
Title Dehydroepiandrosterone treatment of midlife dysthymia.
Authors Bloch M, Schmidt PJ, Danaceau MA, Adams LF, Rubinow DR
Address Behavioral Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-1276, USA.

BACKGROUND: This study evaluated the efficacy of the adrenal androgen,
dehydroepiandrosterone, in the treatment of midlife-onset dysthymia. METHODS: A
double-blind, randomized crossover treatment study was performed as follows: 3
weeks on 90 mg dehydroepiandrosterone, 3 weeks on 450 mg
dehydroepiandrosterone, and 6 weeks on placebo. Outcome measures consisted of
the following. Cross-sectional self-ratings included the Beck Depression
Inventory, and visual analogue symptom scales. Cross-sectional objective
ratings included the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, the Cornell Dysthymia
Scale and a cognitive test battery. Seventeen men and women aged 45 to 63 years
with midlife-onset dysthymia participated in this study. Response to
dehydroepiandrosterone or placebo was defined as a 50% reduction from baseline
in either the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale or the Beck Depression
Inventory. RESULTS: In 15 patients who completed the study, a robust effect of
dehydroepiandrosterone on mood was observed compared with placebo. Sixty
percent of the patients responded to dehydroepiandrosterone at the end of the
6-week treatment period compared with 20% on placebo. A significant response
was seen after 3 weeks of treatment on 90 mg per day. The symptoms that
improved most significantly were anhedonia, loss of energy, lack of motivation,
emotional "numbness," sadness, inability to cope, and worry.
Dehydroepiandrosterone showed no specific effects on cognitive function or
sleep disturbance, although a type II error could not be ruled out.
CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study suggests that dehydroepiandrosterone is an
effective treatment for midlife-onset dysthymia.
Title Double-blind treatment of major depression with dehydroepiandrosterone.
Author Wolkowitz OM; Reus VI; Keebler A; Nelson N; Friedland M; Brizendine L;
Address Department of Psychiatry, University of California Medical Center, San Francisco, USA.
Source Am J Psychiatry, 156(4):646-9 1999 Apr

OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to assess possible antidepressant effects of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), an abundant adrenocortical hormone in humans. METHOD: Twenty-two patients with major depression, either medication-free or on stabilized antidepressant regimens, received either DHEA (maximum dose = 90 mg/day) or placebo for 6 weeks in a double-blind manner and were rated at baseline and at the end of the 6 weeks with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. Patients previously stabilized with antidepressants had the study medication added to that regimen; others received DHEA or placebo alone. RESULTS: DHEA was associated with a significantly greater decrease in Hamilton depression scale ratings than was placebo. Five of the 11 patients treated with DHEA, compared with none of the 11 given placebo, showed a 50% decrease or greater in depressive symptoms.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that DHEA treatment may have significant antidepressant effects in some patients with major depression. Further, larger-scale trials are warranted.
Title Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) treatment of depression.
Author Wolkowitz OM; Reus VI; Roberts E; Manfredi F; Chan T; Raum WJ
Address Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine 94143-0984, USA.
Source Biol Psychiatry, 41(3):311-8 1997 Feb 1

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfate, DHEA-S, are plentiful adrenal steroid hormones that decrease with aging and may have significant neuropsychiatric effects. In this study, six middle-aged and elderly patients with major depression and low basal plasma DHEA f1p4or DHEA-S levels were openly administered DHEA (30-90 mg/d x 4 weeks) in doses sufficient to achieve circulating plasma levels observed in younger healthy individuals. Depression ratings, as well as aspects of memory performance significantly improved. One treatment-resistant patient received extended treatment with DHEA for 6 months: her depression ratings improved 48-72% and her semantic memory performance improved 63%. These measures returned to baseline after treatment ended. In both studies, improvements in depression ratings and memory performance were directly related to increases in plasma levels of DHEA and DHEA-S and to increases in their ratios with plasma cortisol levels. These preliminary data suggest DHEA may have antidepressant and promemory effects and should encourage double-blind trials in depressed patients.




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