Psychosocial Functioning in Women With Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Before and After Treatment With Sertraline or Placebo

Background: The objective of this study was to evaluate the pretreatment psychosocial functioning of women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and the effect of sertraline treatment on psychosocial functioning in these patients.

Method: Two hundred forty-three women recruited from 12 university-affiliated sites and meeting DSM-IV criteria for PMDD completed 1 cycle of single-blind placebo and were randomly assigned to flexible dose sertraline or placebo for 3 cycles. Psychosocial functioning was assessed by the Daily Record of Severity of Problems (DRSP), the Social Adjustment Scale (SAS), and the Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire (Q-LES-Q).

Results: SAS scores during the follicular phase were similar to SAS scores of community norms, whereas the pretreatment SAS and Q-LES-Q scores during the luteal phase were similar to scores of women with depressive disorders. Sertraline was significantly more effective than placebo in improving psychosocial functioning as measured by the SAS, the Q-LES-Q, and the 3 DRSP items of impaired productivity, interference with social activities, and interference with relationships with others. Improvement in psychosocial functioning assessed by SAS and Q-LES-Q correlated with improvement in symptomatology assessed by the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement (CGI-I) scale and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D). Remitters (CGI-I score of 1) were more likely to function better at baseline and showed larger improvements in functioning and quality of life with treatment compared with nonremitters.

Conclusion: Sertraline was superior to placebo in improving psychosocial functioning in women with PMDD as reflected by SAS, Q-LES-Q, and DRSP measures. Functional improvement correlated with improvement in premenstrual symptomatology and was apparent by the second cycle of treatment. Comparison of pretreatment SAS scores in women with PMDD with the scores of other populations of women documents the degree of luteal phase functional impairment in women with PMDD and a relative absence of follicular phase impairment.

J Clin Psychiatry 2000;61(2):101-109