DHEA May Improve Midlife Depression 33055DHEA May Improve Midlife Depression
March 28, 2005
DHEA May Improve Midlife Depression
Recent research fromthe National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a component of the NationalInstitutes of Health (NIH), has found DHEA supplementation may be an effectivetreatment of midlife onset minor and major depression.The double blind,randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover treatment study was published in theFebruary issue of Archives of General Psychiatry,an American Medical Association (AMA) journal. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) isan adrenal androgen and neurosteroid available as an over-the-counter (OTC)hormone therapy supplement.
Peter Schmidt, M.D., and his research team from the BehavioralEndocrinology branch of NIMH studied 23 men and 23 women aged 45 to 65 withmidlife onset of major or minor depression of moderate severity.The subjectswere given either six weeks of DHEA therapy90 mg/d for the first three weeksand 450 mg/d for the second three weeksor six weeks of placebo treatment.Researchers evaluated subjects every three and six weeks using the HamiltonDepression Scale (HDS), Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale andthe Derogatis Interview for Sexual Functioning Scale.They recorded a 50-percentor more reduction of baseline HDS score in 23 patients after DHEAsupplementation and in 13 patients after placebo treatment. The scientists alsonoted six weeks of DHEA treatment was associated with significant improvementsin Derogatis scores relative to baseline and placebo conditions.
At present, there are no predictors of response, and with a50-percent response rate, one would obviously select more reliable first-linetreatments for this condition, the study authors wrote. However, in the 50percent of depressed outpatients who do not respond to first-line antidepressanttreatment, or in those unwilling to take traditional antidepressants, DHEA mayhave a useful role in the treatment of mild to moderately severe midlifeonsetmajor and minor depression.
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