The benefits and harms of systemic dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in postmenopausal women with normal adrenal function: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Tarig Elraiyah, Mohamad Bassam Sonbol, Zhen Wang, Tagwa Khairalseed, Noor Asi, Chaitanya Undavalli, Mohammad Nabhan, Osama Altayar, Larry Prokop, Victor M. Montori, Mohammad Hassan Murad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Context: Exogenous dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) therapy has been proposed to replenish the depletion of endogenous DHEA and its sulfate form, which occurs with advancing age and is thought to be associated with loss of libido and menopausal symptoms.

Objective: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarize the evidence supporting the use of systemic DHEA in postmenopausal women with normal adrenal function.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Psyc Info, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Scopus through January 2014. Pairs of reviewers, working independently, selected studies and extracted data from eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We used the random-effects model to pool across studies and evaluated heterogeneity using the I2 statistic.

Results: We included 23 RCTs with moderate to high risk of bias enrolling 1188 women. DHEA use was not associated with significant improvement in libido or sexual function (standardized mean difference, 0.35; 95% confidence interval, -0.02 to 0.73; P value =.06; I2 = 62%). There was also no significant effect of DHEA on serious adverse effects, serum lipids, serum glucose, weight, body mass index, or bone mineral density. This evidence warranted low confidence in the results, mostly due to imprecision, risk of bias, and inconsistency across RCTs.

Conclusions: Evidence warranting low confidence suggests that DHEA administration does not significantly impact sexual symptoms or selected metabolic markers in postmenopausal women with normal adrenal function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3536-3542
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Volume99
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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