Hormonal profile effects following dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) administration to schizophrenic patients

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Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is an important neurosteroid and has demonstrated efficacy in the improvement of mood and energy. The authors previously reported the efficacy of DHEA augmentation in the management of negative, depressive, and anxiety symptoms of schizophrenia. To characterize further the effects of DHEA administration and to describe any hormonal effects following DHEA augmentation of antipsychotic medication, several hormones were measured (TSH, prolactin, testosterone, insulin, and estradiol) in 27 chronic schizophrenic inpatients receiving DHEA or placebo augmentation for 6 weeks. No significant changes in hormonal blood measures were noted. At the study end point, an association was noted between DHEA-S and TSH levels (P < 0.05) as well as a change in DHEA-S and insulin levels (P < 0.001). A modest nonsignificant decrease in plasma testosterone was observed following DHEA treatment. In subjects receiving DHEA, change in testosterone levels was associated with improvement in anxiety (P < 0.05) and illness severity (P < 0.05). Findings in this preliminary study demonstrate minimal effects on hormonal profiles despite the theoretic possibility that DHEA may elevate various hormones (eg, testosterone) with potential long-term adverse effects. DHEA's clinical efficacy appears to be mediated by other mechanisms, including direct effects on membrane channel-coupled receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-269
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Neuropharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • DHEA
  • Hormonal profile
  • Neurosteroid
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia


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