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Psychiatry Res. 2012 Dec 30;200(2-3):544-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2012.07.012. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Dehydroepiandrosterone treatment effects on weight, bone density, bone metabolism and mood in women suffering from anorexia nervosa-a pilot study.

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Department of Psychiatry, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel; Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.


We investigated the effects of the administration of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on weight, bone metabolism, bone density and clinical mood symptoms in outpatient Anorexia Nervosa (AN) patients. AN patients (n=26) were double-blindly randomized to receive DHEA (100mg) or placebo for 6 months. Outcome measures were bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and metabolism indexes, steroid hormones, and mood and eating disorder symptoms measured at baseline and at the 3 and 6 months follow-up visits. Mood and eating disorder symptoms were assessed monthly by the Beck Depression Inventory, Eating Disorder Inventory and Clinical Global Improvement Scales. No treatment or treatment by time interaction was observed for any bone density measures. Deoxypiridinolyne (DPD) was positively correlated with weight (P=0.02). An increase in body mass index (BMI) in the DHEA group was significantly higher at 4 months compared to the control group (P=0.05). Improvement of mood was significantly correlated with weight only in the DHEA group. Despite a significant decrease in DPD, no improvement in bone mineral density was detected. However, patients treated with DHEA benefited from a significant increase in BMI, which was positively correlated with improvement in mood.

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