A cure for menstrual cramps? Health Ministry approves new drug

Most women suffer greatly from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and yet, to this day, there hasn’t been a good solution to this suffering.

 Women experience period cramps (illustrative) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Women experience period cramps (illustrative)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

The Health Ministry has now approved a new over-the-counter remedy for PMS based on the Avraham shrub plant. Here are all the details.

It was recently reported that the Avraham shrub plant can help women who are suffering greatly around their menstrual cycle. And now we have more news. The Health Ministry has approved a new over-the-counter drug called Prefemin, based on this plant and without hormones. The drug is intended for women who face monthly physical and mental symptoms of PMS.

The drug contains 20 mg of dry extract of Abraham's bush (vitex agnus-castus). It’s a plant that has been used for years as a treatment for various gynecological problems, has been shown to be effective for PMS and is now offered as a natural treatment for something which bothers many women.   

The drug should be taken once a day and is available at all pharmacies.

(Credit: Flickr)
(Credit: Flickr)

From abdominal pain to anxiety

Premenstrual syndrome is characterized by a collection of physical and mental symptoms, including abdominal pain, acne breakouts, sleep disorders, anxiety, mood swings, decreased energy, nausea or vomiting, abdominal bloating, chest congestion, increased need to cry and an urge to eat sweets. Some women also report outbursts of anger and the need for social avoidance for several days.

PMS has been recognized for years by international gynecological organizations as a disease with definite symptoms. It’s estimated that in the days before and after menstruation, hormonal fluctuations occur that lead to changes that affect both the body and the mind. And yet, to this day, most women have needed to learn to live with the symptoms without a thorough scientific response. Painkillers eased some physical symptoms such as cramps and pain, but not mental anguish.

David Papo, chairman of the Pharmaceutical Association of Israel, remarked that daily, pharmacists speak to women and girls seeking targeted treatment for their symptoms, and some prefer to take an herbal preparation. He added that it’s a positive development that the Health Ministry has approved a new drug and that it is definitely encouraging for pharmacists, who can give a real answer to customers, without the need for a doctor's prescription.

According to a survey conducted by the pharmaceutical company Rafa, a company that markets Prefemin, 81% of women occasionally suffer from symptoms of PMS and about 75% deal with a range of physical and mental symptoms in the days before menstruation. 

Thirty percent of the survey participants indicated that PMS disturbs their daily routine to a great extent, and about 70% indicated that it somewhat disrupts their regular work or school day.