Danazol for premenstrual dysphoric disorder


Generic Name Brand Name
danazol Danocrine

Danazol is a synthetic form of the male hormone testosterone.

How It Works

This medication (called a hormone suppressor) decreases production of the hormone estrogen. This decrease stops the monthly menstrual hormone cycle, which relieves premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) symptoms.

Why It Is Used

Danazol is used to treat symptoms of PMDD if other treatments have failed to end severe symptoms.

How Well It Works

Danazol may relieve the irritability, anxiety, lethargy, increased appetite, headaches, and breast tenderness that occur with PMS and PMDD. Unfortunately, the side effects of treatment with danazol outweigh the benefits for many women. Many women stop taking this medication because of its side effects.

Side Effects

Side effects caused by danazol can include:

  • Weight gain.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Decreased breast size.
  • Flushing.
  • Oily skin and hair.
  • Depression.
  • Acne.
  • An increase in male characteristics, such as increased facial hair and body hair (hirsutism) or deepening of the voice, which may be permanent.
  • Increased cholesterol levels.
  • Skin rash.

Most side effects disappear after you stop taking danazol. Aerobic exercise may help reduce the side effects.

A potentially serious long-term side effect is a reduced level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which may protect against heart disease.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

When considering danazol treatment, discuss its possible benefits and effectiveness with your health professional, comparing it with the side effects and costs of treatment.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

Last Updated: June 19, 2008

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