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DHEA Side Effects

Generic name: dehydroepiandrosterone

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 16, 2023.

Note: This document contains side effect information about dehydroepiandrosterone. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name DHEA.

Applies to dehydroepiandrosterone: vaginal suppository.

Serious side effects of DHEA

Along with its needed effects, dehydroepiandrosterone (the active ingredient contained in DHEA) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Other side effects of DHEA

Some side effects of dehydroepiandrosterone may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common or rare

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to dehydroepiandrosterone: compounding powder, oral capsule, oral tablet, vaginal insert.


The most common reported adverse effect during treatment with prasterone (vaginal insert) was vaginal discharge, which is attributed to the expected increase in vaginal secretions associated with this treatment and to the melting of the drug delivery vehicle of the pessary (i.e., hard fat).[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hypertension

Frequency not reported: Pulmonary embolism


Frequency not reported (observed with other combined or estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy [HRT]): Chloasma, erythema multiforme, erythema nodosum, vascular purpura.


Frequency not reported (observed with other combined or estrogen-only HRT): Increased plasma binding proteins (e.g., thyroid-, corticoid-, and sex hormone-binding globulins)


Very common (10% or more): Vaginal discharge (up to 14.2%)

Common (1% to 10%): Abnormal pap smear, including cases of low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion and atypical cells of undetermined significance.

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Cervical and uterine polyps


Frequency not reported (observed with other combined or estrogen-only HRT): Gallbladder disease


Frequency not reported (observed with other combined or estrogen-only HRT): Increased triglycerides leading to pancreatitis

Nervous system

Frequency not reported (observed with other combined or estrogen-only HRT): Probable dementia over the age of 65 years


Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Ovarian cancer, breast cancer


Common (1% to 10%): Weight fluctuation

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Benign breast mass

More about DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone)

Patient resources

Other brands


Professional resources

Other brands


Related treatment guides


1. Product Information. Intrarosa (prasterone). Theramex Australia Pty Ltd. 2023;1.

2. Product Information. Intrarosa (prasterone). Theramex HQ UK Ltd. 2022.

3. Product Information. Intrarosa (dehydroepiandrosterone (prasterone)). Millicent Pharma. 2020.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.