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Womens Health (Lond Engl). 2013 Nov;9(6):537-56. doi: 10.2217/whe.13.62.

Treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, University of California Los Angeles, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, Room 27-139 CHS, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1740, USA.


Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is comprised of a cluster of affective, behavioral and somatic symptoms recurring monthly during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. The disorder affects 3-8% of menstruating women and represents the more severe and disabling end of the spectrum of premenstrual disorders, which includes premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual aggravation of underlying affective disorder. Rigorous and specific diagnostic criteria for PMDD were specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (1994) and reaffirmed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V (2013) and, consequently, there has been a marked increase in well-designed, placebo-controlled studies evaluating treatment modalities. Although the exact pathogenesis of PMDD is still elusive, treatment of PMDD and severe premenstrual syndrome has centered on neuromodulation via serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants, and ovulation suppression utilizing various contraceptive and hormonal preparations. Unlike the approach to the treatment of depression, serotonergic antidepressants need not be given daily, but can be effective when used cyclically, only in the luteal phase or even limited to the duration of the monthly symptoms. Less, well-substantiated alternative treatments, such as calcium supplementation, agnus castus (chasteberry), Hypericum perforatum (St John's wort) and cognitive/behavioral/relaxation therapies, may be useful adjuncts in the treatment of PMDD. This review provides an overview of current information on the treatment of PMDD.

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