Treatment For Postpartum Depression Reaches Crucial Turning Point With First-Ever Pill

According to the National Institute for Health (NIH), roughly one in seven people who give birth will develop postpartum depression, or PPD. While many more women than this develop what is called "baby blues" due to shifting hormones and stress, they recover fairly quickly. PPD, however, is generally much more severe and can last considerably longer, significantly impacting the birthing person's ability to function normally. To add to the complexity of the issue, there is a great deal of stigma surrounding postpartum depression, as new mothers are often expected to be overjoyed and head-over-heels-in-love with their new infants. In reality, however, people dealing with PPD not only experience frightening symptoms that affect themselves, but also have trouble bonding with their new babies. 

As a result, not all people struggling with PPD symptoms will feel comfortable or able to come forward and ask for the medical help they need. While fighting the stigma on a societal level is essential to help prevent this suffering, the development of better treatment options is also important. Now, a new medication aimed at bringing fast relief to those dealing with PPD has been sent to the FDA for review (via WebMD).    

About the new medication

A new medication from pharmaceutical companies Sage Therapeutics and Biogen has been submitted to the U.S.Food and Drug Administration for review (via WebMD). The drug, meant to be taken once a day for two weeks, is currently called zuranolone, and if approved could replace other commonly-prescribed depression medications that take a great deal longer to take effect. 

Because the FDA has fast-tracked the review of this drug and made it a priority, this new medication for postpartum depression could possibly be approved this calendar year.  

"Most current approved therapies may take weeks or months to work," said Laura Gault, MD, chief medical officer at Sage, in a press release. "We believe zuranolone, if approved, could offer a new way for physicians to support patients." She explained that the medication was formulated with a specific purpose in mind. "We are committed to advancing treatments that could help physicians and patients by addressing depression symptoms quickly," she said.