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The role of fluoxetine in the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Many women experience psychological and physical symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle, commonly referred to as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). For the 3% to 5% of women who meet Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), symptoms are severe and impair social and occupational functioning. Although the etiology of PMDD is unknown, symptoms of dysphoria, including depression and anxiety, predominate and indicate a link to serotonergic neurotransmission. Pharmacotherapy trials have shown greater efficacy with serotonergic versus nonserotonergic compounds. We reviewed the published literature and found 7 controlled and 4 open-label clinical trials of fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, in the treatment of PMDD. These trials demonstrate that PMDD symptoms decreased during treatment with fluoxetine. Preliminary findings suggest that intermittent luteal-phase fluoxetine dosing may also be a suitable treatment strategy for selected patients with PMDD. At 20 mg/d, adverse events were usually transient, rarely caused discontinuation, and were consistent with fluoxetine's known safety profile. Fluoxetine 20 mg/d is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for women with PMDD, a severe variant of PMS.

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