One out of every seven women is affected my postpartum depress every year in the United States, according to the Postpartum Depression Organization. It's an incredibly serious thing that - thank goodness - is taking center stage in current research studies, new regulations regarding prenatal and postnatal care, and now - medication.
Up until this point, women who shared symptoms of postpartum depression with their doctor would be prescribed regular depression medications. Now, these are helpful as well, however, they can take weeks and in some cases even months before patients are able to feel the full effects. And we all know that a women faced with new motherhood and these severe symptoms need help now - not in a few weeks.
An incredible breakthrough happened on March 19th, when the FDA approved a medication called brexanolone — or Zulresso, which is the first ever approved drug to treat postpartum depression specifically.
Experts in this area still don't have a firm grasp on what exactly causes postpartum depression, but they think it does have something to do with a change in hormone levels that happens to one's body after giving birth. Because of this, brexanolone was created as the first drug of its kind, containing a synthetic form of allopregnanolone.
This is a hormone that's levels tend to increase during pregnancy and rapidly decrease once a woman gives birth, helping to treat her hormones to combat postpartum depression.
Dr. Steve Kanes, who is the chief medical officer of Sage Therapeutics, the biopharmaceutical company that developed brexanolone, feels like this will help to transform women's' lives and the lives of those around them. After all, postpartum depression impacts everyone in the family.
Additionally, the drug is not going to be administered like normal anti-depressants, via a pill, it will be administered intravenously. This will happen over a sixty-hour time frame in a hospital. Patients were able to see a difference in just twenty-four hours and they still remained thirty days later. And at this point, there haven't been any long-term negative side effects reported, however, it's not approved for women who are breastfeeding.
If you're curious about cost, one session with run families between $20,000 to $35,000, and medical providers are still unclear on which insurance networks will provide coverage.