Tricyclic Antidepressants for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
How It Works
TCAs improve your mood by increasing the
levels of certain chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters).
In low doses, these
medicines may cause drowsiness and sleep. This can be helpful when sleep
disorders are a symptom of PMS.
Why It Is Used
TCAs may be used if PMS is
How Well It Works
Some women with severe premenstrual
depression benefit from TCAs. TCAs have not been studied as much as selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for their specific effects on PMS mood
The side effects of TCAs may
- Blurred vision.
- Weight gain.
- Urinary retention.
- Loss of sexual desire or
Side effects decrease as you continue treatment.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an
advisory on antidepressant medicines and the risk of
suicide. The FDA does not recommend that people stop using these medicines.
Instead, a person taking antidepressants should be watched for
warning signs of suicide. This is especially important
at the beginning of treatment or when the doses are changed.
Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not
available in all systems.)
What To Think About
TCAs take 4
to 6 weeks to effectively relieve PMS symptoms.
TCA treatment, compare the possible benefits against the costs of treatment and
possible side effects. You can discuss these with your health
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are taken orally every day
throughout the menstrual cycle for
premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. Generally, a low
dose is given at first, and the dosage is increased slowly until the medicine
takes effect. This helps minimize side effects.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.