Definition of Neurosteroid

Neurosteroid: A brain steroid, a molecule structurally similar to cortisone, progesterone and the gonadal hormones.

Neurosteroids play a role in controlling anxiety and depression. Antidepressant drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase the brain levels of neurosteroids as well as affecting the levels of the chemical serotonin in the brain,. Changes in neurosteroid levels also appear to play a role in premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and some SSRIs reportedly provide relief of PMS symptoms. (Reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 1999;96:13512-13517.)

Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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