First Drug for Postpartum Depression Approved by FDA

Posted on May 28, 2019 by


On Tuesday, 19 March, the FDA approved the first ever drug specifically for postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is the intense sadness, anxiety, or despair that occurs within the first year after giving birth. It affects about one in nine women, 400,000 annually. Symptoms can include disturbances in sleep and eating patterns, feelings of sadness and apathy; those affected often feel confused and guilt-ridden as to why they’re feeling down during what is supposed to be a happy time in their lives.

Up until now, new mothers experiencing PPD have been prescribed regular antidepressants that take weeks to affect them and don’t account for the hormonal changes a new mother goes through.

The new drug, Brexanolone, or, as it will be marketed, Zulresso, contains a synthetic form of the hormone allopregnanolone, a progesterone derivative that increases during pregnancy and can dramatically plummet afterwards, which is possibly a contributor to PPD.

Zulresso is not a pill;  it’s delivered through an IV over a period of 60 hours in a medically supervised setting. The cost of treatment will be between $20-35,000. It is unknown how much insurance would cover, but it’s a one time price.

A once-a-day pill is in clinical trials and could be released in the next few years.

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