BMJ Clin Evid. 2014 Oct 21;2014:0813.


Introduction: Dysmenorrhoea may begin soon after the menarche, after which it often improves with age; or it may originate later in life, after the onset of an underlying causative condition. Dysmenorrhoea is common, and in up to 20% of women it may be severe enough to interfere with daily activities.

Methods and outcomes: We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of pharmacological treatments for primary dysmenorrhoea? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to December 2013 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Results: We found eight studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.

Conclusions: In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: contraceptives (combined oral), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), progestogens (intrauterine), and simple analgesics (aspirin, paracetamol) .

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Contraceptive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dysmenorrhea / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Progestins / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Contraceptive Agents
  • Progestins