US Approves First Pill For Postpartum Depression

US Approves First Pill For Postpartum Depression

The pill will be marketed under the brand name Zurzuvae

The US has approved the first pill for postpartum depression. As per a report by BBC, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved for the first time a pill to treat postpartum depression, a condition believed to affect around half a million women in the country every year.

The FDA said zuranolone is “the first oral medication indicated to treat postpartum depression (PPD) in adults.”

“Until now, treatment for PPD was only available as an IV injection given by a health care provider in certain health care facilities,” it added.

Symptoms of postpartum depression can include sadness, loss of energy, suicidal thoughts, decreased ability to feel pleasure, or cognitive impairment, as per the FDA.

Dr Asima Ahmad, the chief medical officer at Carrot Fertility, a healthcare company in Menlo Park, California, said that “about one in eight women experience PPD symptoms after a recent live birth, and among those reporting symptoms, 75 per cent go untreated.”

“These numbers are elevated for minority populations; 81 per cent of Black women and 76 per cent of Hispanic women said they would have liked to learn more about postpartum mental health before having children, compared to 70 per cent of women overall,” she said.

In a time when we are seeing rising maternal mortality rates and significant racial disparities in maternal outcomes, we need to focus on solutions, and that includes addressing postpartum depression.”

The pill, specifically designed for postpartum depression, has been shown to work faster than other antidepressants and is designed to be taken only over a short two-week period, as per AFP.

The doctor said that the side effects of the pill were less severe than other antidepressants currently in use.

“Both the lower incidence of side effects and the short-term regimen, which could help some feel less stigma around having to use an antidepressant, could potentially improve compliance,” she said.

Tiffany Farchione, head of psychiatry in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said postpartum depression is “a serious and potentially life-threatening condition in which women experience sadness, guilt, worthlessness — even, in severe cases, thoughts of harming themselves or their child.”

“Having access to an oral medication will be a beneficial option for many of these women coping with extreme, and sometimes life-threatening, feelings,” she said.

The pill will be marketed under the brand name Zurzuvae and was developed by Massachusetts-based Sage Therapeutics.

According to the New York Times, the only other drug approved for postpartum depression is brexanolone, which was approved by the FDA in 2019 but requires a 60-hour intravenous infusion in a hospital, and costs $34,000.

No price has yet been announced for the new oral pill.

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