The Effect of Dehydroepiandrosterone Administration during Rehabilitation on White Matter Integrity Among Individuals With Polysubstance Use Disorder

Ben Bilaus, Nuphar Rotem Turchinski, Hadas Levi Ahdoot, Rina Eden Gavish, Ofir Shany, Rachel Maayan, Paola Rosca, Abraham Weizman, Yael Delayahu, Gal Yadid, Roee Admon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives Individuals with polysubstance use disorder (pSUD) exhibit vulnerability to relapse even after prolonged abstinence, with rehabilitation efforts achieving limited success. Previous studies highlighted dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) as a putative therapeutic agent that may aid rehabilitation, potentially by impacting white matter (WM) properties. The current study tested, for the first time, the effect of DHEA administration during rehabilitation on WM integrity among pSUD individuals, while assessing its putative association with long-term relapse rates. Methods Immediately after admission to rehabilitation, 30 pSUD individuals were assigned to receive either placebo or DHEA (100 mg) daily for 3 months, via a randomized double-blind counterbalanced design. Participants also provided blood samples to assess circulating DHEA levels at treatment initiation and completed a diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scan approximately 1 month after treatment initiation. Clinical status was evaluated 16 months after treatment initiation. Thirty matched healthy controls also underwent a DTI scan without any intervention. Results DHEA administration was not associated with reduced relapse rates compared with placebo. Nevertheless, exploratory analysis revealed that DHEA was associated with successful rehabilitation among pSUD individuals with low circulating DHEA levels at treatment initiation. White matter integrity in the splenium corpus callosum (CC) was reduced in pSUD individuals compared with healthy controls, yet pSUD individuals receiving DHEA exhibited recovery of splenium CC WM integrity. Conclusions DHEA administration during rehabilitation may restore WM integrity in the CC among pSUD individuals. Although DHEA was not associated with reduced relapse rates in here, its therapeutic efficacy may depend on circulating DHEA levels at treatment initiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-556
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Addiction Medicine
Volume17
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 4 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • addiction
  • corpus callosum (CC)
  • dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
  • diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)
  • polysubstance use disorder (pSUD)

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