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Diagnosis and Treatment of Premenstrual Dysphoria

Elias Eriksson, PhD; Björn Andersch, MD, PhD; Hoi Por Ho, BSc; Mikael Landén, MD, PhD; and Charlotta Sundblad, MD, PhD

Published: July 1, 2002

Article Abstract

Premenstrual dysphoria (PMD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome afflicting 5% to 10% ofall fertile women. Cardinal symptoms—appearing regularly between ovulation and menstruation anddisappearing within a few days after the onset of the bleeding—are depressed mood, tension, affectlability, and irritability. Of these symptoms, irritability is often the most prominent. Serotonin reuptakeinhibitors (SRIs), but not nonserotonergic antidepressants, reduce the symptoms of PMD effectively.The onset of action of SRIs is much shorter when used for PMD than when used for depression,enabling women with PMD to restrict medication use to the luteal phase of the cycle (so-called intermittenttreatment). The findings that SRIs are effective for PMD—and that sexual dysfunction is themost frequent side effect during long-term treatment—both lend support for the hypothesis that a majorrole for brain serotonin is to modulate sex steroid-driven behavior.

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