Danazol for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

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Danazol for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)


Generic NameBrand Name

Danazol is a synthetic form of the male hormone testosterone.

How It Works

This medicine (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 medicine because of its side effects.

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Hives.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • A deepening of your voice.
  • Unnatural hair growth, such as facial hair or body hair.
  • Growth of your clitoris.
  • Muscle cramps or spasms.
  • Increased acne or oily skin or hair.

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Flushing or redness of the skin.
  • Nervousness.
  • Vaginal burning, itching, or dryness.

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

What To Think About

Danazol may cause your skin to be more sensitive to sunlight. When you are taking this medicine:

  • Stay out of the sun, if possible.
  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats, if possible.
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF that your doctor recommends.
  • Call your doctor if you have a severe reaction after being in the sun.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant. If you need to take this medicine, talk to your doctor about how you can prevent pregnancy.


Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It’s also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

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


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised July 26, 2010

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.