The First Drug Aimed at Treating Postpartum Depression Just Passed a Major Hurdle

It could help as many as 600,000 new moms every year.
ByAshley Edwards Walker
Contributing Writer
Published
Nov 2017
Illustration of a prescription bottle full of pills
Photo: Shutterstock

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that roughly 600,000 new moms suffer from postpartum depression every year. Stressors like fear of childbirth or an unplanned pregnancy can increase your risk, but it can be a combination of things (for example, all the hormone and thyroid changes your body goes through with pregnancy and childbirth) that you can’t always control. Either way, postpartum depression is nothing to be ashamed of. The important thing is that you recognize the symptoms and seek treatment as soon as possible. And thankfully, treating the illness may soon be a little easier. The first-ever drug aimed specifically at treating postpartum depression just passed a major hurdle toward FDA approval.

Treatment options for postpartum depression often involve a combination of therapy and antidepressants. But none of the drugs currently on the market in the United States are specifically aimed at treating postpartum depression. Now a company called Sage Therapeutics is hoping to change all that. They’ve introduced brexanolone, “given as an infusion to new mothers who experience long-lasting symptoms of depression after giving birth,” according to Business Insider.

The drug completed two successful late-stage clinical trials of more than 200 women last week. Women who received the injection had a decrease in symptoms over a 30-day period compared to the control group who received the placebo. It was the final step before applying for FDA approval, which the company expects to do early next year.

“We believe the data represent an unprecedented opportunity in the development of treatments for PPD, and may serve as the catalyst for a paradigm shift in how the disease is approached and, if approved, may change how PPD is treated,” Jeff Jonas, the company’s CEO, said in a news release.

If approved, brexanolone would open up another treatment option for women who experience moderate to severe postpartum depression.

Victoria’s Secret Model Explains How PPD Can Be ‘Spiraling’ for New Moms

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
06/24/2019

Photo Shows How Postpartum Depression Changes Day to Day

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
05/09/2017

Dads Get Postpartum Depression Almost as Much as Moms, Study Says

Laurie Ulster
Contributing Writer
Published
07/31/2018

Q&A: I Have Postpartum Depression, Should I Wean?

Jeanne Cygnus, IBCLC, RLC
Lactation Specialist

Mom Sums Up Postpartum Depression in One Raw Instagram Photo

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
02/22/2018

We're Failing New Moms by Not Screening Better for Depression, AAP Says

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
12/18/2018

Avoiding Postpartum Depression

Shoshana Bennett, PhD
Clinical Psychologist

A Text a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor

A Drug for Postpartum Depression Could Be on the Market by 2019

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
02/20/2018

Empowering Campaign Wants Struggling New Moms to Know They're Not Alone

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
10/10/2018