Hormone Supplement Boosts Quality of Life in HIV Patients
DHEA is widely available without a prescription. Should the study results
encourage consumers to dose themselves? "This is only a preliminary study;
if someone wants definitive evidence, they need to wait," says Rabkin.
"On the other hand, DHEA is a fairly benign product, so there isn't a great
cost in trying it." She warns that no one should take DHEA unless they are
experiencing specific indications that would make it suitable. "Consumers
should only use DHEA if they have certain symptoms, such as fatigue or
depressed mood. Then they need to observe themselves and see if there is a
noticeable difference in those symptoms after a period of treatment."
Since this pilot study did indicate DHEA has useful effects for HIV, the
next step should be a larger study with more rigorous scientific procedures.
Study authors believe they will be funded for this research, and Rabkin expects
to begin such a study by late spring.
"The medications used in HIV/AIDS often compromise muscle mass and the
ability to maintain body weight in a healthy way," says Cover. "We are
looking forward very much to further testing of this compound in people living
with HIV and AIDS."
- DHEA is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland, and it is widely available
as a supplement without prescription.
- In a recent study of HIV-positive patients, those taking DHEA experienced
more energy, improved mood, more interest in sex, and increased muscle
- This study is still considered preliminary, and knowledge about the
supplement is limited since it hasn't been widely tested.