Beyond Premenstrual Syndrome

PMDD is like PMS in overdrive, but it responds to treatment with some familiar drugs

The Food and Drug Administration last week approved an old medication for a new use. The drug: the antidepressant Zoloft. The new purpose: something called premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

I know about PMS--premenstrual syndrome--but PMDD was a new one on me, so I made a few calls. "PMDD is actually severe PMS," explained Dr. Kimberly Yonkers, an associate professor of psychiatry at Yale and the lead researcher of the FDA's clinical trials. Why not just call it PMS? "Well, it's more complicated than that," she told me. "It involves emotional symptoms."

PMS also has an emotional element--as most women, and many men,...

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