Mediterr J Rheumatol 2023;34(3):292-301
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) Supplementation in Rheumatic Diseases: A Systematic Review
Authors Information

1Rheumatology Unit, Hospital Evangélico Mackenzie, Curitiba, PR, Brazil

2Biomedicine Student, Instituto Brasileiro de Medicina e Reabilitação (IBMR), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

3Núcleo de Pesquisa em Doenças Crônicas não Transmissíveis (NUPEN), School of Nutrition from the Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

JF Carvalho, E Hauz, TL Skare


Background: Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is an adrenal hormone used to treat rheumatic conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjogren’s syndrome (SS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with controversial results. Aim: To review the results of DHEA use in rheumatic diseases. Methods: PubMed, Scielo, Scopus, and Embase databases were systematically searched for articles on the treatment of rheumatic diseases with DHEA between 1966 and April 2023. Results: Twenty-one studies were identified: 13 in SLE, 5 in SS, 2 in RA, and 1 in fibromyalgia. DHEA use in SLE has shown a mild to moderate effect on disease activity, a positive effect on bone mineral density (BMD), and improved fatigue. The studies on SS showed a decrease in symptoms of dry mouth, but its performance did not differ from placebo in disease activity. In RA, a questionable effect on disease activity was noted. The only study on fibromyalgia failed to show any improvement. The drug was well tolerated; mild androgenic effects were the most common complaints. Conclusion: DHEA seems to have a place in SLE treatment, where it improves BMD and disease activity. The use in RA, SS, and FM is questionable.

Cite this article as: Skare TL, Hauz E, de Carvalho JF. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) Supplementation in Rheumatic Diseases: A Systematic Review. Mediterr J Rheumatol 2023;34(3):292-301.

Article Submitted: 24 Feb 2023; Revised Form: 26 Jun 2023; Article Accepted: 13 Jul 2023; Available Online: 25 Aug 2023


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