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A comparison of treatments for women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

15 Aug

A randomized comparison of psychological (cognitive behavior therapy), medical (fluoxetine) and combined treatment for women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

British researchers at Guy’s, King’s and St. Thomas Hospital Medical Schools randomly assigned 108 women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) to one of 3 treatment conditions: either 10 sessions of cognitive behavior therapy, or a daily dose of 20 mg of fluoxetine (Prozac), or a combination of both CBT and the anti-depressant, over the course of 6 months. At the one year follow-up, measures were taken using the Calendar of Premenstrual Experiences (COPE) and significant improvement was found in all three treatment-groups after 6 months'' treatment, assessed by the COPE. Fluoxetine was associated with a more rapid improvement, but CBT was associated with better maintenance of treatment effects. In conclusion, CBT and fluoxetine are equally effective treatments for PMDD, but in different ways. In spite of these differential benefits, however, this study did not find additional benefit by combining the treatments.

Citation: Hunter MS, Ussher JM, Browne SJ, Cariss M, Jelley R, Katz M. A randomized comparison of psychological (cognitive behavior therapy), medical (fluoxetine) and combined treatment for women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 2002, Sept; 23 (3): pp. 193-199.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award