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Dehydroepiandrosterone for women in the peri- or postmenopausal phase

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, January 2015
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  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (51st percentile)

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Dehydroepiandrosterone for women in the peri- or postmenopausal phase
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, January 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.CD011066.pub2
Pubmed ID

Scheffers, Carola S, Armstrong, Sarah, Cantineau, Astrid E P, Farquhar, Cindy, Jordan, Vanessa


During menopause a decreasing ovarian follicular response generally causes a fluctuation and eventual decrease in estrogen levels. This can lead to the development of various perimenopausal and postmenopausal symptoms (for example hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness). Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is one of the main precursors of androgens, which in turn are converted to testosterone and estrogens. It is possible that the administration of DHEA may increase estrogen and testosterone levels in peri- and postmenopausal women to alleviate their symptoms and improve general wellbeing and sexual function (for example libido, dyspareunia, satisfaction). Treatment with DHEA is controversial as there is uncertainty about its effectiveness and safety. This review should clearly outline the evidence for DHEA in the treatment of menopausal symptoms and evaluate its effectiveness and safety by combining the results of randomised controlled trials. To assess the effectiveness and safety of administering DHEA to women with menopausal symptoms in the peri- or postmenopausal phase. The databases that we searched (3 June 2014) with no language restrictions applied were the Cochrane Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Group Specialised Register, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL and LILACS. We also searched conference abstracts and citation lists in the ISI Web of Knowledge. Ongoing trials were searched in the trials registers. Reference lists of retrieved articles were checked. We included randomised controlled trials comparing any dose and form of DHEA by any route of administration versus any other active intervention, placebo or no treatment for a minimal treatment duration of seven days in peri- and postmenopausal women. Two authors independently extracted data after assessing eligibility for inclusion and quality of studies. Authors were contacted for additional information. Twenty-eight trials with 1273 menopausal women were included in this review. Data could be extracted from 16 trials to conduct the meta-analysis. The overall quality of the studies was moderate to low with the majority of studies that were included in the meta-analysis having reasonable methodology. Compared to placebo, DHEA did not improve quality of life (standardised mean difference (SMD) 0.16, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.03 to 0.34, P = 0.10, 8 studies, 287 women (132 from parallel and 155 from crossover trials), I² = 0%, moderate quality evidence; one trial of the nine that reported on this outcome was removed in a sensitivity analysis as it was judged to be at high risk of bias). DHEA was found to be associated with androgenic side effects (mainly acne) (odds ratio (OR) 3.77, 95% CI 1.36 to 10.4, P = 0.01, 5 studies, 376 women, I² = 10%, moderate quality evidence) when compared to placebo. No associations were found with other adverse effects. It was unclear whether DHEA affected menopausal symptoms as the results from the trials were inconsistent and could not easily be pooled to provide an overall effect due to different types of measurement (for example continuous, dichotomous, change and end scores). DHEA was found to improve sexual function (SMD 0.31, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.55, P = 0.01, 5 studies, 261 women (239 women from parallel trials and 22 women from crossover trials), I² = 0%; one trial judged to be at high risk of bias was removed during sensitivity analysis) compared to placebo.There was no difference in the acne associated with DHEA when comparing studies that used oral DHEA (OR 2.16, 95% CI 0.47 to 9.96, P = 0.90, 3 studies, 136 women, I² = 5%, very low quality evidence) to one study that used skin application of DHEA (OR 2.74, 95% CI 0.10 to 74.87, P = 0.90, 1 study, 22 women, very low quality evidence). The effects did not differ for sexual function when studies using oral DHEA (SMD 0.11, 95% CI -0.13 to 0.35, P = 0.36, 5 studies, 340 women, I² = 0) were compared to a study using intravaginal DHEA (SMD 0.42, 95% CI 0.03 to 0.81, 1 study, 218 women). Test for subgroup differences: Chi² = 1.77, df = 1 (P = 0.18), I² = 43.4%. Insufficient data were available to assess quality of life and menopausal symptoms for this comparison.There were insufficient data available to compare the effects of DHEA to hormone therapy (HT) for quality of life, menopausal symptoms, and adverse effects. No large differences in treatment effects were found for sexual function when comparing DHEA to HT (mean difference (MD) 1.26, 95% CI -0.21 to 2.73, P = 0.09, 2 studies, 41 women, I² = 0%). There is no evidence that DHEA improves quality of life but there is some evidence that it is associated with androgenic side effects. There is uncertainty whether DHEA decreases menopausal symptoms, but DHEA may slightly improve sexual function compared with placebo.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 4 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 133 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 2 2%
Brazil 1 <1%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Canada 1 <1%
Unknown 128 96%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 29 22%
Unspecified 21 16%
Student > Doctoral Student 13 10%
Student > Bachelor 12 9%
Researcher 12 9%
Other 46 35%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 60 45%
Unspecified 28 21%
Nursing and Health Professions 12 9%
Psychology 9 7%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 5 4%
Other 19 14%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 2. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 18 April 2015.
All research outputs
of 5,007,431 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 7,663 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 153,882 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 222 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 5,007,431 research outputs across all sources so far. This one has received more attention than most of these and is in the 54th percentile.
So far Altmetric has tracked 7,663 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 12.7. This one is in the 22nd percentile – i.e., 22% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 153,882 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 51% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 222 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 14th percentile – i.e., 14% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.