Study Explores Promising New Approach for Treating Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Billed as a “proof of concept,” the study included only 95 women, so it needs to be repeated with a larger population before the treatment can be recommended. It was published online on December 10, 2020, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
The drugs belong to a class known as selective progesterone receptor modulators (SPRMs), which could potentially offer a welcome option in the future for women struggling with the condition. “Given the limited options for treatment as of now, any additional option that may be effective and that doesn’t present excess risks would be promising,” says Carly Snyder, MD, a reproductive psychiatrist in private practice in New York City, who treats many women with the condition.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) Can Be Debilitating
PMDD strikes during the luteal phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle, the time after ovulation and before menstruation. Many women experience the condition every month.
Symptoms vary, but generally include wildly shifting moods, profound irritability or anger, low energy, and poor sleep, which are severe enough to negatively impact usual life activities. “Women often say they feel as if they become different people entirely. They’re quick to anger, feel weepy and anxious, and have poor self-control during this time,” Dr. Snyder says. The disease can affects a woman’s ability to work or go to school, and relationships are often harmed by the emotional volatility.
PMDD Is Not the Same as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Many people confuse PMDD with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), since both strike before menstruation. But PMS, which most reproductive-age women experience, generally results in uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, appetite change, and mild irritability, Snyder says. By definition, PMDD symptoms are severe enough to negatively impact a woman’s ability to function.
A Drug Available in Europe Was the Specific Drug Tested
In this case, the researchers chose the medicine ulipristal acetate (UPA), a drug available in Europe under the brand name Esmya. In Europe, this medication, taken daily in a 5 milligram (mg) pill, is used to treat uterine fibroids.Esmya is not approved for that use in the United States. However a 30 mg ulipristal acetate drug is sold in the United States as the emergency contraceptive ,Ella.