Thirty-six women suffering from premenstrual syndrome were treated with bromocriptine or norethisterone in a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study. Bromocriptine decreased breast engorgement and irritability (P<.01) and also decreased the total score of all symptoms (P<.05). Weight gain during the luteal phase was smaller (P<.05) during bromocriptine than during placebo treatment. Norethisterone treatment alleviated (P<.05) breast tenderness. Changes in hormonal parameters and liver function tests during bromocriptine treatment were minimal, whereas norethisterone decreased serum levels of luteinizing hormone (P<.01), follicle-stimulating hormone (P<.001), and progesterone (P<.05), while increasing the serum level of prolactin (P<01) and [gamma] -glutamyltranspeptidase activity (P<.05). Serum levels of cholic acid and chenodeoxycholic acid remained unchanged during both therapies. Bromocriptine treatment brought about side effects in 6 and norethisterone in 3 women. At the doses used, bromocriptine appears more efficient than norethisterone with regard to premenstrual symptoms, although norethisterone is better tolerated.
(C) 1982 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists