DHEA: Dehydroepiandrosterone


Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2000;57(22) 

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Oral absorption of DHEA is excellent. The volume of distribution is 17.0-38.5 L for DHEA and 8.5-9.3 L for DHEAS. DHEA and DHEAS are converted into several active metabolites, including androstenedione, testosterone, estrone, estradiol, and estriol (Figure 1). The elimination half-life of DHEA is 15-38 minutes, whereas the half-life of DHEAS is 7-22 hours. Renal excretion accounts for 51-73% of the elimination of DHEAS and its metabolites.[2,4,34,35,36]

Figure 1.

Synthesis of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), DHEA sulfate (DHEAS), and other steroids. The listing of more than one enzyme indicates a multistep process. aro = aromatase, DOC = deoxycorticosterone, HSD = hydrosteroid dehydrogenase, HSO = hydrosteroid oxidoreductase, HSS = hydrosteroid sulfatase, KSR = ketosteroid reductase, R = reductase, scc = side-chain cleavage, SH = sulfohydrolase, P-S = pregnenolone sulfate, THDOC = tetrahydrodeoxycorticosterone, THP = tetrahydroprogesterone. Reprinted from reference 3, with permission.


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