Premenstrual dysphoric disorder: burden of illness and treatment update

Teri Pearlstein, Meir Steiner
Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience: JPN 2008, 33 (4): 291-301
Five percent of menstruating women have severe premenstrual symptoms and impairment of functioning defined as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Clinically significant premenstrual symptoms occur in at least an additional 20% of menstruating women. The diagnosis of PMDD should be confirmed by prospective symptom charting over 2 menstrual cycles to confirm the timing of the symptoms and to rule out other diagnoses. The burden of illness of PMDD includes disruption of parenting and partner relationships and decreased productivity in work roles. In addition, women with PMDD have increased use of health care services such as clinician visits and increased use of prescription medications and over-the-counter preparations. The etiology of PMDD is multifactorial. In particular, dysregulation of the serotonin and allopregnanolone systems is implicated. Several effective treatment options exist, including serotonergic antidepressant medications and an oral contraceptive that contains ethinyl estradiol and drosperinone. In addition, other hormones that suppress ovulation, anxiolytics, cognitive therapy, chasteberry and calcium may be helpful.


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