Article Text

other Versions

Effects of dehydroepiandrosterone on fatigue and well-being in women with quiescent systemic lupus erythematosus. A randomized controlled trial
  1. A Hartkamp1,
  2. R Geenen2,*,
  3. G L.R. Godaert2,
  4. M Bijl3,
  5. J W.J. Bijlsma4,
  6. R H.W.M. Derksen4
  1. 1 Jeroen Bosch Hospital, 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands;
  2. 2 Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands;
  3. 3 University Medical Center Groningen, Netherlands;
  4. 4 University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to: Rinie Geenen, Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, Dept Clin Health Psychology, P.O.Box 80140, Utrecht, 3508 TC, Netherlands; r.geenen{at}


Objective: Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) has been reported to improve fatigue and reduced well-being. Both are major problems in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), even with quiescent disease. Low serum DHEA levels are common in SLE. We investigated the effects of DHEA administration on fatigue, well-being, and functioning in women with inactive SLE.

Methods: In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, 60 female patients with inactive SLE received 200 mg oral DHEA or placebo. Primary outcome measures were general fatigue, depressive mood, mental well-being, and physical functioning. Assessments were before treatment, after 3, 6, and 12 months on medication, and 6 months after cessation of treatment.

Results: Patients from both the DHEA and placebo group improved on general fatigue (p < .001) and mental well-being (p = .04). There was no differential effect of DHEA. The belief to have used DHEA was a stronger predictor for improvement of general fatigue than the actual use of DHEA (p = .04).

Conclusions: Our trial does not indicate an effect of daily 200 mg oral DHEA on fatigue and well-being and therefore DHEA treatment is not recommended in unselected female patients with quiescent SLE.

Statistics from

Review history and Supplementary material


    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.