Effects of Antidepressants on Quality of Life in Women with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Ellen W. Freeman
This review examines the effects of antidepressant medications on premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and the diminished quality of life (QOL) that accompanies the disorder. PMDD is a chronic condition in women that emerges in the second half of the menstrual cycle and remits during the menstrual period. The affective and behavioural symptoms of PMDD adversely affect functioning and QOL to a disabling degree, particularly in the domains of family and personal relationships, work productivity and social activities. The serotonergic antidepressants, specifically the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are effective for PMDD. Continuous and luteal-phase dosing regimens with SSRIs are similarly effective and well tolerated. Treatment of PMDD with a serotonergic antidepressant significantly improves functioning and QOL in all studies that have systematically examined QOL issues in this disorder. Although the data show that PMDD is effectively treated with serotonergic antidepressants and that functional impairment that accompanies the disorder is also improved with treatment, the social and economic burden of PMDD continues to be widely unrecognised. Greater awareness of the effectiveness of treatments and reliable measures of the direct and indirect healthcare costs of the disorder when it remains untreated are needed.
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