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Can Antidepressant Relieve Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms?

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a common condition experienced by about 85 percent of menstruating women. If you are getting the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome just before your monthly cycle, you may be interested to know that antidepressant can help relieve your discomforts. According to the research findings by a group of researchers led by Dr. Thelma Lovick, a reduction in the progesterone can reduce the breakdown of a hormone called allopregnanolone. It acts as a sedative to the brain. It has been postulated that women experience some form of a withdrawal syndrome whenever the amount of allopregnanolone is decreased. This causes the manifestation of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

Prevalence of premenstrual syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) usually occurs in the early 20's and 40's in women with a menstruation. The PMS is more severe among women who are in the 4th decade of life. PMS occurs between ovulation and the start of menstrual bleeding. It is also common among those with at least one child and has experienced some form of a mood disorder and postpartum depression. The symptoms usually manifest at least one to two weeks before your menstruation. Among these symptoms include acne formation, fatigue, tender breast, mood changes and anxiety. In most cases, irritability is common and sensitivity to pain. These symptoms then disappear after your menstruation begins. A more serious form of PMS is the premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) that rarely occurs but can produce more serious and severe symptoms. PMDD occurs only in about 3 to 8 percent of women.

Symptoms of PMS

PMS can produce disturbing symptoms like anxiety, depression, irritability, tension, oversensitivity, crying and exaggerated mood swings. It can also result in physical symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, acne, tenderness of the breast, insomnia, changes in appetite and bloating. Antidepressant drugs, more specifically the fluoxetine, have the ability to reduce these mood-related and physical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

The role of antidepressant in premenstrual syndrome

Researchers found out that the PMS symptoms may be triggered by the reduced amount of progesterone secretion by the end of the menstrual cycle. As a result, the reduction of progesterone causes the fall in the breakdown of the hormone called allopregnanolone. An antidepressant drug called fluoxetine has been discovered to increase the level of allopregnanolone that can help reduce the symptoms of PMS.

It has been published in the British Journal of Pharmacology and European Neuropsychopharmacology that a study was conducted on the action of fluoxetine to allopregnanolone by testing it on the brain of adult female rats. The finding from the study showed that fluoxetine is capable of blocking the enzyme that is responsible in deactivating allopregnanolone. The antidepressant drug fluoxetine was given to female rats before the beginning of their premenstrual cycle. The result showed an increase in the level of the allopregnanolone in the brain and it retarded the symptoms known to be present in PMS. Over activity of the brain cells commonly occur in PMS that causes stress and fear responses and the antidepressant drug was able to reduce these activities of the brain cells.

The effect of the drug becomes apparent within an hour after its administration. This is faster as compared to its effect against the symptoms of depression. The significance of this discovery is essential in finding a targeted and intermittent treatment for premenstrual syndrome among women with very few side effects. As an antidepressant drug, fluoxetine provides a promising lead among the researchers in developing a better treatment against premenstrual syndrome. Other forms of antidepressant drugs like the citalopram are believed to slow down Alzheimer's disease.