Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2018;17(9):706-711. doi: 10.2174/1871527317666180817153914.


Background: Depression is a mental disorder that affects a large part of the world's population. DHEA is a hormone that has long been attributed to the ability to improve depressive symptoms. However, few studies were conducted with depression individuals not resulting from other medical conditions.

Objective: To investigate whether DHEA is more effective than placebo in the treatment of depressive symptoms in subjects with depression not resulting from other psychiatric or medical comorbidities.

Methods: An electronic search was carried out using the keywords Dehydroepiandrosterone (Mesh) AND Depression (Mesh) in the following databases: Medical Literature databases Analysis and Retrieval System Online (Medline), Excerpta Medical Database (EMBASE), Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences (LILACS) and the Cochrane Library through their website for relevant publications until June 2018. Only randomized clinical trials were included. The critical appraisal of the articles was performed using the Risk of Bias Tool from Cochrane Collaboration.

Results: The meta-analysis applied in this review pointed to a significant effect in favor of treatment with DHEA compared to placebo.

Conclusion: DHEA may be one more effective alternative between the drugs used in the treatment of depression.

Keywords: DHEA treatment; Dehydroepiandrosterone; depression; depression treatment; depressive symptoms; depressive disorder; mood disorders..

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / therapeutic use*
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Humans


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone