Comparing Calcium with an Anti-Depressant to Treat Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Kimberly Ann Yonkers, M.D.,Associate Profssor of Psychiatry
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), which is characterized by emotional and physical symptoms, affects women’s relationships and interests, and can cause functional impairment within home and work environments. Dr. Yonkers compared an antidepressant (Sarafem® or Prozac®) commonly used in treating PMDD to calcium based on clinical observations and trials suggesting that calcium may work well in PMDD. Calcium had never been directly compared to an antidepressant used for PMDD. If its efficacy were confirmed, the more benign side-effect profile of calcium, in addition to the lower cost of calcium compared to an anti-depressant, would provide positive benefit to the many women who need and receive treatment for PMDD. In addition, her study was designed to determine if the addition of calcium to the antidepressant enhanced treatment response.
Highlighted Study Findings
Dr. Yonkers recruited and randomized 49 women subjects diagnosed with PMDD to either the antidepressant agent or calcium. The study was extended and expanded with a no cost extension in order to recruit the sample necessary. Preliminary data analysis shows there is little support for the efficacy of calcium as a treatment for PMDD, although results confirmed efficacy for fluoxetine. Moreover, calcium augmentation does not appear to be an effective strategy for enhancing the antidepressant treatment response.