The objective of this study was to evaluate whether Vitex agnus castus is a safe and effective treatment for PMS and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and to discuss the implications of these findings for clinical practice. A systematic review of literature was conducted using PubMed and Scielo databases. The inclusion criteria were randomized controlled trials (RCT) using V. agnus castus in individuals with PMS or PMDD that compared this intervention with placebo or an active comparator and included a description of blinding and dropouts/withdrawals. The search was conducted by two independent investigators who reached consensus on the included trials. A total of eight RCTs were included in this study. Most studies focused on PMS, and the diagnostic criteria of PMS and PMDD changed over the years. Three different preparations of V. agnus castus (VAC) were tested, and there was significant variability in the measurement of treatment outcomes between the studies. Nevertheless, all eight studies were positive for VAC in the treatment of PMS or PMDD and VAC was overall well tolerated. Main limitations were differences in definition of diagnostic criteria, the instruments used as main outcome measures, and different preparations of VAC extracts limit the comparison of results between studies. In conclusion, the RCTs using VAC for treatment of PMS/PMDD suggested that the VAC extract is a safe and efficacious alternative to be considered for the treatment of PMS/PMDD symptoms.
Keywords: Chasteberry; Premenstrual dysphoric disorder; Premenstrual syndrome; Treatment; Vitex agnus castus.