The most commonly prescribed pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) drugs are ineffective, research suggests. The majority of the 1.5 million women who suffer from PMS in the UK are prescribed progesterone or its synthetic equivalent, progestogens.
But a team of researchers from the University of Keele have found that taking progesterone no more effective than taking a placebo. The report said previous beliefs that PMS was caused by a progesterone deficiency were "unsubstantiated".
Professor Shaughn O'Brien, head of Academic Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Keele who led the research, said the vast majority of women who suffer from the condition did not need to take drugs at all. 90% of women suffer from mild symptoms such as irritability.
The team examined 14 studies on the effectiveness of the treatment, which has been routinely prescribed by doctors since the 1960s. They concluded that there was no "convincing evidence" to support the continued prescription of progesterone or progestogens to treat PMS.