– DHEA and lupus: DHEA stands for DeHydroEpiAndrosterone
– It is produced by the adrenal glands
– It is made from cholesterol (yes, cholesterol is a necessary part of our body)
– It is both a steroid and a hormone
– It has both female hormone activity and male hormone activity
– It is used by the body to produce estrogen (female) and testosterone (male)
– It is the most abundant hormone in the human body
– Many lupus patients have lower than normal DHEA levels. This is what started the research to use it for treatment
– The prescription form of DHEA goes by the brand name Prasterone. The FDA would not approve its use for lupus due to the clinical trials not being strong enough to support FDA-approval.
– The research studies used 200 mg a day. However, this is more likely to cause acne and unwanted hair growth.
– It is best to get DHEA from a compounding pharmacist to ensure high quality. Ask your rheumatologist to write you a prescription. Over-the-counter products are not as reliable.
– It is available as a prescription vaginal preparation to help decrease pain from intercourse in women who have vaginal atrophy (tissue thinning usually due to aging).
– It does not look like the pharmaceutical company who produced Prasterone is going to pursue FDA-approval for treating systemic lupus erythematosus. Previous attempts to do this, backed up by positive recommendations from lupus experts failed.
– Using DHEA is one of the Lupus Secrets.
Want to learn more about DHEA and lupus? Read this online article that is free to download and read for everyone:
Sawalha AH, Kovats S. Dehydroepiandrosterone in systemic lupus erythematosus. Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2008;10(4):286-291. doi:10.1007/s11926-008-0046-1
Thanks to Kelli Roseta of More Than Lupus for publishing “Ask Dr. T”