Munson Health
 
Medications for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Back to Document

by Scholten A
 
The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medicines listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medicines as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
If your premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms do not improve after two or three months of lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend drug therapy. The following drugs may be used to treat PMS symptoms:

Prescription Medications

Oral Contraceptives
  • Combination of estrogen and progestin
  • Progestin only
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
Benzodiazepines
  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)

Prescription Medications

  Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Common names include:
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) affect the concentration of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. These medicines are used in the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a more uncommon and severe form of PMS. The medicine can help relieve depression , irritability, and some of the physical symptoms. SSRIs may also offer benefit to women who have severe PMS, but are not diagnosed with PMDD.
SSRIs tend to work much faster in relieving depressive symptoms associated with PMS than the symptoms of major depression. This is why it is important for your doctor to correctly diagnose you. Depending on your condition, you may only need to take SSRIs during the two-week premenstrual period.
Possible side effects include:
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Weight gain
  • Risk of severe mood and behavior changes, including suicidal thoughts in some patients (Young adults may be at a higher risk for this side effect.)
 

References


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Practice bulletin: premenstrual syndrome. ACOG. No. 15. April 2000.


Premenstrual syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated June 14, 2012. Accessed August 20, 2012.


Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Family Doctor.org website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome-pms.html . Updated August 2010. Accessed August 20, 2012.


Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) fact sheet. Women's Health.gov website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/premenstrual-syndrome.cfm . Updated May 18, 2010. Accessed August 20, 2012.

 

Revision Information