DA Approves First Drug Specifically for Postpartum Depression


Postpartum Depression pic
Postpartum Depression
Image: webmd.com

Psychiatrist Dr. Carol Lynn Childers practices at Heartland Health Centers and Trilogy, Inc. Both facilities assist the Chicago community with overall physical health improvements and mental wellbeing. Previously, Dr. Carol Lynn Childers treated women with postpartum depression as a consulting psychiatrist for the Jennifer Mudd Houghtaling Postpartum Depression Foundation grant.

In March 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved brexanolone, a new drug sold under the brand name Zulresso, for regular use among patients who suffer postpartum depression. Developed by Sage Therapeutics, it’s the first drug on the market that specifically targets mothers with this serious condition that affects one in seven women who have given birth. It is characterized by thoughts of suicide and feelings of guilt, and is much more intense and long-lasting than baby blues.

Although approved by the FDA, Zulresso will only be available to women at certified facilities through a restricted distribution program. This is due to a need for health care providers to monitor patients while they receive the drug intravenously for 60 continuous hours. There are also certain side effects of the drug, including passing out. To ensure women have the maximum amount of protection, the FDA is requiring the use of a boxed warning for the drug. This is the strongest warning required by the organization.

Researchers are hopeful that the approval of Zulresso will lead to the development of additional medications for women with postpartum depression. Currently, the condition is treated with antidepressants and psychotherapy. In some cases, antidepressants can take four to eight weeks to become effective. Zulresso takes effect within days and lasts for at least one month.