Currently, doctors and psychiatrists are weighing the legitimacy of a condition known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) to determine if it deserves a listing in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the American Psychiatric Association’s bible for mental health professionals. A new edition of the DSM has not been issued since 1987, and in it PMDD is not considered an actual disorder but rather a condition in need of “further study.”
Granting PMDD its own diagnosis in the DSM will almost certainly guarantee one thing – that drug companies will be clamoring to create a drug to treat it.
PMDD is a condition in which women during the week before their periods experience severe symptoms such as mood swings, irritability or anger, feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and decreased interest in usual activities. A woman may also experience difficulty concentrating, lethargy, a marked change in appetite, insomnia, and a feeling of being overwhelmed. Physical symptoms may include breast tenderness or swelling, joint or muscle pain, a sensation of feeling bloated, and weight gain.
The first drug approved to treat PMDD was the antidepressant Prozac, which drug maker Eli Lily repackaged in 1999 and sold as Sarafem. It was a rarity, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had never before approved a drug for a diagnosis that had not been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. Later, the FDA did approve a PMDD indication with the birth control pill Yaz.
New diagnoses pave the way for new drugs or new indications for current drugs to hit the market in droves, which means women need to be aware of potentially dangerous side effects from these drugs.
For example, if more drugs in the same class of Prozac are used to treat PMDD, women will have to be informed of the potential side effects from the drugs. Prozac is in a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Other drugs in this class include Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa and Lexapro. New studies have linked SSRI use during pregnancy to serious birth defects of the brain, lungs, heart, and spinal cord. Skull malformations and club foot have also been associated with the pills.
PAXIL and PAXIL CR are registered trademarks of GlaxoSmithKline. ZOLOFT is a registered trademark of Pfizer Inc. Celexa® is a registered trademark of Forest Labs. Lexapro® is a registered trademark of Forest Labs. PROZAC®is a registered trademark of Eli Lily and Company.