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FDA Approves New Birth Control Pill

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Brown said there are probably several explanations for these positive findings. First, the new pill has what's called a monophasic design, meaning that it releases the same dose of the hormones in each dose.

"Other pills vary the dose during the cycle, and I think they may not be as effective in controlling moodiness," she said.

At the time, Brown had told WebMD she expected the FDA to approve Yasmin as a contraceptive sometime this summer. Once that happened, she said, Berlex would try to win approval for using it as a treatment for PMS.

"Using a birth control pill for PMS is not a novel concept," Kathleen Fitzgerald, MD, told WebMD at the time of Brown's study. She is a clinical assistant professor at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

"We are always searching for the perfect birth control pill," she said, noting the search continues because women have different needs and because ob/gyns are using them to control menstrual bleeding, treat migraines, and fight acne, as well as soothe problems with PMS.

According to Brown, 21 centers are participating in a placebo-controlled trial of Yasmin to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a severe form of PMS that is also called PMDD.

"We've decided to bypass PMS and go all the way to PMDD, and we are very hopeful that this pill will demonstrate a benefit for this disorder," she said.

Brown said that one reason she is interested in treating PMDD with a birth control pill is her belief that women are "more willing to take a birth control pill than they are to take an antidepressant. There is still a stigma surrounding the use of antidepressants."

Fitzgerald agrees with this assessment. In her practice in Providence, R.I., she uses several different types of birth control pills to treat PMS.

"If they get approval of this pill for PMDD, obstetricians will be using it for PMS in our offices," she says.

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