DHEA replacement therapy improves quality of life

Michael Greer, for AIDSWEEKLY Plus

Treatment with the adrenal hormone DHEA can be beneficial for patients in advanced stages of HIV infection, researchers in France report.

-Plasma levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S) decrease with the progression of HIV disease, – according to Christophe Piketty and colleagues at Hopital Europeen Georges Pompidou, Hopital Trousseau, and Hopital Paul Brousse in Paris, and Hopital Bicetre in Le Kremlin Bicetre. Low levels of DHEA have been linked to poor immune function and depression.

Piketty and coworkers found that DHEA replenishment therapy could significantly improve HIV patients’ quality of life.

The researchers evaluated the effects of 50 milligrams of DHEA a day in 32 volunteers with advanced HIV disease. Plasma levels of DHEA-S, the circulating form of DHEA, rose significantly in treated patients but fell slightly in control patients, they said.

Patients treated with DHEA also displayed significant improvements in the mental health and health-related distress components of the Medical Outcomes Study HIV Health (MOS-HIV) Survey, improvements not seen in placebo-treated participants, study data showed. No adverse effects linked to DHEA therapy were observed.

The number of CD4 cells was not affected by DHEA administration.

-The administration of DHEA in patients with advanced HIV infection results in improved mental function scores as assessed by the MOS-HIV quality of life scale, – Piketty and coauthors concluded.

Source: AEGIS.


Further information on DHEA and HIV (all from Treatment Update 114 – 2001 January; Volume 12 Issue 10)

DHEA – Background

DHEA – Cautions and concerns

DHEA for depression?

Changes in DHEA levels in people taking anti-HIV therapy


Piketty C, Jayle D, Leplege A et al. Double-blind placebo-controlled trial of oral dehydroepiandrosterone in patients with advanced HIV disease, Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2001 Sep;55(3):325-30. Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11589675&dopt=Abstract

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