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FDA Approves Use of Prozac to Ease Severe PMS

Aired July 7, 2000 - 2:19 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Prozac is commonly used to treat depression, but now the government says it can help ease a severe form of PMS.

Here's CNN medical correspondent Holly Firfer.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOLLY FIRFER, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One of the most commonly prescribed drugs in America now has a new target. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its stamp of approval for fluoxetine, better known as Prozac, to treat Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD. It's the first drug approved by the FDA to treat the disorder, considered more serious than a typical case of PMS.

The American Psychiatric Association suggests seeing a doctor if premenstrual women experience the following symptoms: depressed mood, anxiety, tension, persistent anger or irritability, and what is referred to as affective lability, the tendency to alternate between cheerful and somber moods.

Premenstrual women may also experience difficulty in concentrating, lack of energy, changes in appetite and diminished interest in activities. Other symptoms: weight gain, bloating, and breast tenderness.

(on camera): Eli Lilly will market the drug next month under a special name for this use: Sarafem (ph). That's an effort to help women who might be reluctant to take an antidepressant. But experts say Sarafem should only be prescribed for diagnosed cases of PMDD, not for less severe cases of PMS.

(voice-over): Side effects of Prozac are the same no matter what it's prescribed for. This is yet another application for the popular antidepressant drug, first approved in 1987. Prozac has since gained FDA approval for treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and bulimia. It's estimated that 38 million people have used Prozac worldwide.

Holly Firfer, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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