Continuous OC Treatment in PMDD: Steroid Hormone Mechanisms

Principal Investigator: Dr. Susan Girdler, Dept. of Psychiatry

Recruitment Length: Ongoing

Study Brief: Women with severe PMS or PMDD may be more sensitive to the normal hormonal fluctuations associated with their menstrual cycle. This study is designed to examine whether suppression of hormonal fluctuations with a continuous low-dose oral contraceptive will alleviate the cyclical fluctuations in mood symptoms that are triggered by increasing hormones in the premenstrual week. Women enrolled in this study will receive one of three interventions for three months: 1) continuous low dose oral contraceptive; 2) intermittent low dose oral contraceptive (three weeks of active pills and one week of inactive pills); or 3) placebo (all inactive pills). Women will have equal odds of being assigned to one of these three treatments. This study involves multiple study visits lasting 15 – 45 minutes. These visits may occur at UNC or at the participant’s home.

You may be qualified if the following applies to you:

  1. you have severe PMS or PMDD as determined in the Screening Study described above
  2. you are not taking any prescription medication including hormonal agents or antidepressants
  3. you are 18 – 50 years of age, medically healthy, and not obese
  4. you do not smoke cigarettes
  5. you have no history of blood clots and no history of breast cancer


Point of Contact: For more information, contact Khanh Nguyen at 919-966-2547 or

Compensation Available: Up to $520

Additional Information: http://www.psychiatry.unc.edu/wmd/research/pmdd/