DHEA: Dehydroepiandrosterone


Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2000;57(22) 

In This Article

Adverse Effects

Increased facial sebum production, acneiform dermatitis, and mild hirsutism have been reported in women taking DHEA in physiological or supraphysiological dosages (25-200 mg/ day).[4,21,38] Hepatitis was reported in a postmenopausal woman with preexisting high titers of antinuclear antibodies who received a single oral dose of 150 mg of DHEA; causality could not be established.[4,47] A supraphysiological dosage of DHEA (100 mg/day) was shown to increase androstenedione, testosterone, and dihydrotestosterone levels threefold to fivefold in postmenopausal women.[21] The long-term effects of these increases in androgen levels in women are not known. A nested case-control study by Dorgan et al.[48] found that postmenopausal women (not taking DHEA or hormone replacement therapy) whose levels of endogenous DHEAS were in the highest quartile had a significantly higher risk of breast cancer (risk ratio, 2.8 [95% confidence interval 1.1-7.4]) than women whose levels of endogenous DHEAS were in the lowest quartile.


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