Premenstrual syndrome is an endocrine disorder characterized by nervous irritability, abnormal sensation in breasts, abdominal pain, thirst, headache and pelvic congestion.
For the first time, low dose oral contraceptive with a unique progestin and dosing regimen has been found effective in treating symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), the most severe form of premenstrual syndrome.
PMDD is characterized by cyclical mood, behavioral and physical symptoms that can be debilitating in some women. The cause of PMDD is unknown, although changes in steroid hormone levels have been held responsible for symptom production. On the same basis, hormones can be given to suppress ovarian activity thereby preventing the symptoms in these women.
A multi-center, double-blind, randomized clinical trial was conducted involving 450 women with symptoms of PMDD. The participants were given either the oral contraceptive or a placebo. Women who were given the oral contraceptive had significantly greater improvement (48.4 percent compared to 36.1 percent of women on placebo) in productivity, enjoyment of hobbies, social activities, and interpersonal relationships, and experienced greater symptom reduction. Forty-four women from both groups withdrew from the study due to adverse effects such as nausea and intermenstrual bleeding.
The low dose oral contraceptive contains drospirenone, a new progestin, and ethinyl estradiol. It was administered for 24 days followed by four days of inactive pills. The new regimen was designed for greater ovarian suppression and a more stable hormonal environment. The women were evaluated over the course of two menstrual cycles.
The analysis of the results has proved that the oral contraceptive method is effective in reducing symptoms associated with the PMS. For women who are seeking contraception in addition to control of PMDD, this would be more efficient because they could take just one treatment.