A Treatment Study for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Conditions Phase Intervention Type


Ages Eligible for Study
18 years to 50 years
Genders Eligible for Study


Depression, Menstrual Cycle, Gonadal Steroids, GnRH Agonist, and Mood Disorders


National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Inclusion Criteria

The subjects of this study will be women who meet the criteria for MRMD as described in
Protocol No. 81-M-0126, 'The Phenomenology and Biophysiology of Menstrually-related Mood
and Behavioral Disorders.' In brief, these criteria include:

1. history within the last two years of at least six months with menstrually-related mood
or behavioral disturbances of at least moderate severity--i.e., disturbances that are
distinct in appearance and associated with a notable degree of subjective distress;

2. symptoms should have a sudden onset and offset;

3. age 18-50;

4. not pregnant and in good medical health;

5. medication free.

All patients participating in this protocol will have already participated in Protocol
No. 81-M-0126 and will have a prospectively confirmed and predictable relationship
between their mood disorder and the premenstrual phase of the menstrual cycle, i.e., a
30% change in severity of symptom self rating scales, relative to the range of the
scale employed, during the seven days premenstrually compared with the seven days
post-menstrually in two out of three months of study.

The Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia will be administered to all
patients prior to study entry. Any patient with a current axis I psychiatric diagnosis
will be excluded from participating in this protocol.

Prior to treatment, a complete physical and neurological examination will have been
performed and the following routine laboratory data obtained:

A. Blood

Complete blood count; thyroid function tests; cortisol; renal function tests, such as
BUN and creatinine; electrolytes; glucose; liver function tests.

B. Urine

Routine urinalysis; urine pregnancy test.

GnRH agonist will not be administered to any subject with significant clinical or
laboratory abnormalities. The blood tests and urinalysis will be repeated 2 weeks
after GnRH agonist administration to rule out any evidence of acute renal, hepatic or
hematologic toxicity.

Results of Pap smear performed within one year of the onset of treatment will be

Exclusion Criteria

The following conditions will constitute contraindications to treatment with hormonal
therapy and will preclude a subject's participation in this protocol:

- current Axis I psychiatric diagnosis

- history consistent with endometriosis,

- diagnosis of ill-defined, obscure pelvic lesions, particularly, undiagnosed
ovarian enlargement,

- hepatic disease as manifested by abnormal liver function tests,

- history of mammary carcinoma,

- history of pulmonary embolism or phlebothrombosis

- undiagnosed vaginal bleeding

- porphyria

- diabetes mellitus

- history of malignant melanoma

- cholecystitis or pancreatitis,

- cardiovascular or renal disease

- pregnancy

- Any woman meeting the Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop Criteria (STRAW) for
the perimenopause. Specifically, we will exclude any woman with an elevated
plasma FSH level (>= 14 IU/L) and with menstrual cycle variability of > 7 days
different from their normal cycle length.

- Subjects taking birth control pills will be excluded from the study.

- Subjects taking diuretics, prostaglandin inhibitors, or pyridoxine (putative
treatments for MRMD) will similarly be excluded from the study

- Patients taking psychotropic agents (e.g., lithium carbonate, tricyclic

- All subjects will be required to use non-hormonal forms of birth control (e.g.,
barrier methods) to avoid pregnancy during this study.

Detailed Description

This study examines the effects of estrogen and progesterone on mood, the stress response, and brain function and behavior in women with premenstrual syndrome. Previously this study has demonstrated leuprolide acetate (Lupron (Registered Trademark)) to be an effective treatment for PMS. The current purpose of this study is to evaluate how low levels of estrogen and progesterone (that occur during treatment with leuprolide acetate) compare to menstrual cycle levels of estrogen and progesterone (given during individual months of hormone add-back) on a variety of physiologic measures (brain imaging, stress testing, etc.) in women with PMS. PMS is a condition characterized by changes in mood and behavior that occur during the second phase of the normal menstrual cycle (luteal phase). This study will investigate possible hormonal causes of PMS by temporarily stopping the menstrual cycle with leuprolide acetate and then giving, in sequence, the menstrual cycle hormones progesterone and estrogen. The results of these hormonal studies will be compared between women with PMS and healthy volunteers without PMS (see also protocol 92-M-0174). At study entry, participants will undergo a physical examination. Blood, urine, and pregnancy tests will be performed. Cognitive functioning and stress response will be evaluated during the study along with brain imaging and genetic studies.

Contacts and Locations

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00001259


  • National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
    Bethesda, Maryland United States

    Status: Recruiting

    Contact info Peter Schmidt, M.D.

Overall Contact Backup

Peter J Schmidt, M.D.
(301) 496-6120