Guaifenesin as a Treatment for Primary Dysmenorrhea

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Abstract

Background:

Dysmenorrhea is highly prevalent and causes much work loss and discomfort. A treatment with a new mechanism of action could benefit women of menstruating age. A study was undertaken to assess the efficacy of guaifenesin as a treatment for primary dysmenorrhea because of its effects of cervical dilation and cervical mucous thinning.

Methods:

Thirty-four subjects with primary dysmenorrhea were enrolled in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Three treatment surveys measured 10 symptoms (lower abdominal pain, general abdominal pain, back pain, headache, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, menstrual flow, weakness, and activities of daily living) on a 100-mm visual analog scale. Nonstudy analgesic use was also measured.

Results:

Twenty-five subjects returned the first treatment survey, and 17 returned all 3 surveys. Results were nonsignificant, but guaifenesin trended toward being better than placebo for dysmenorrhea pain and associated constitutional symptoms and caused no worsening of symptoms. Lower abdominal mean pain scores from the first survey decreased 38 mm for guaifenesin versus 7 mm for placebo. By the third survey, only 2 of 8 guaifenesin participants took nonstudy analgesics compared with all 9 placebo subjects.

Conclusions:

Guaifenesin may be useful in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea. A larger study is needed to validate these initial findings.

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