Published: Fri, March 22, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Why new treatment for postpartum depression could be a 'game-changer'

Why new treatment for postpartum depression could be a 'game-changer'

The drug infusion takes 60 hours and will likely be priced around $20,000 to $35,000 per treatment, Sage Therapeutics, the company that developed the drug, confirmed to CNN.

Postpartum depression has historically been treated with counseling or general antidepressants, which can take weeks to kick in or may not work at all. "It's not just the mother who suffers when there's postpartum depression". It is the first drug approved by the FDA specifically for PPD, Xinhua quoted a FDA release as saying.

Dr. Simone Vigod, the chief of psychiatry at Women's College Hospital in Toronto, said she would like to know how brexanolone treatments impact a woman's breast milk and what the long-term implications are for the mother and child. The committees based their joint recommendation on the safety and efficacy data from three placebo-controlled clinical studies.

The trials studied 247 women who were randomly selected to receive either brexanolone or a placebo.

In trials involving women with moderate to severe PPD, the company has said it showed a reduction in depression severity at the end of 60 hours. The participants couldn't have bipolar disorder or psychosis, nor could they have had a recent suicide attempt.

The treatment's 60-hour length could make it hard for some new mothers to be able to participate ― after all, it involves sedation, and patients must be accompanied when interacting with their children during the infusion, according to the release.

Some women may experience dizziness, headaches, or nausea, said Deligiannidis. Farchione said the REMS program is necessary "because of concerns about serious risks, including excessive sedation or sudden loss of consciousness during administration".

Also, Sage Therapeutics advised that patients talk to their doctor about breastfeeding because the drug will pass into breast milk. So far, though, it looks like only small amounts of the medication reach the breast milk.

But Zulresso won't be cheap.

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The drug will likely be priced around 20,000 to 35,000 USA dollars per treatment, said Sage Therapeutics, the company that developed the drug, according to media reports. According to the manufacturer, Sage Therapeutics, the drug should be available starting in late June.

Our brains contain a network of receptors - called GABA receptors - that are responsible for the communication between brain cells. Progesterone levels can plunge after childbirth. According to Vox, experts believe it works by replenishing hormones thought to cause postpartum depression. We're talking about postpartum depression.

A pill version of the treatment could make the drug more widely accessible, and is now undergoing clinical trials, according to the Times.

Researchers are optimistic about the experimental pill.

Postpartum depression is the most common complication of pregnancy, affecting up to one in seven women who have recently given birth. A new mum needs to stay in the treatment centre while receiving the drug. I am encouraged about the drug, but I would like to see more research on it.

At present the newly approved drug Zulresso is to have a restricted use and availability only.

That being said, these new treatments are a light rising on the horizon, said Gaither. It often ends naturally within a couple of weeks, but for some, it can also continue for months and even years.

The drug is expected to be expensive, costing more than $30,000 for a full session.

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