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J Psychosom Res. 1992 Apr;36(3):257-66.

A prospective treatment study of premenstrual symptoms using a triphasic oral contraceptive.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.


Eighty-two women with complaints of moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms were recruited for a double-blind, controlled trial of a triphasic oral contraceptive (o.c.). Subjects made daily ratings of symptoms for at least one baseline cycle and were then randomly assigned to receive either placebo or o.c. for three months. Twenty-three women dropped out of the study (18 o.c., 5 placebo), 13 failed to show prospective confirmation of moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms, and one placebo subject had an anovulatory cycle. Forty-five women with prospectively-confirmed premenstrual changes (20 o.c., 25 placebo) completed the study. Premenstrual breast pain and bloating were significantly reduced with active treatment compared to placebo (p less than 0.03) but there were no beneficial effects of the o.c. over placebo for any of the mood symptoms. Women who received o.c.s reported decreased sexual interest after starting treatment and this effect was independent of any adverse influence on mood.

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