The first oral medication to treat postpartum depression in new mothers has just been approved in the United States.
“Postpartum depression is a series and potentially life-threatening condition in which women experience sadness, guilt, worthlessness – even, in severe cases, thoughts of harming themselves of their child,” explains Tiffany R. Farchione, director of the Divison of Psychiatry in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Approximately one in eight new mothers experience postpartum depression. In a first, a medication called zuranolone will be available by prescription only for those suffering from the illness. The pill will be taken once a day for two weeks. In clinical trials, zuranolone improved symptoms of depression, including anxiety, sadness, and even suicidal thoughts. The new medication works rapidly, with women in the clinical trials reporting an overall improvement in as little as three days. Furthermore, on average, the antidepressant effects lasted 45 days after treatment had stopped. Though more research is still underway, this fast-acting and easy-to-take treatment option will soon be available to new mothers.