Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious condition that affects about one in seven new mothers, yet there is currently no antidepressant in pill form specifically designed to treat it. A new drug could change that.
As Healthline reported, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is evaluating the safety and efficacy of Zuranolone, an antidepressant for PPD from the pharmaceutical company Biogen and Sage Therapeutics. Zuranolone is a rapid-acting medication delivered orally and designed to be taken once daily over the course of 14 days. The pill works by targeting key neurotransmitters in the brain associated with symptoms of PPD. This includes perinatal γ-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, which is known to be disrupted by pregnancy and childbirth.
To date, the FDA has only approved one other treatment for PPD: Zulresso, AKA brexanolone, an injection delivered intravenously. Zulresso also targets GABA to improve patients’ moods, although Zuranolone’s mode of delivery could make it a lot more accessible.
What’s more, Zuranolone also seems to work fast. In one 2021 clinical trial funded by the drug company, some PPD patients who took the medication for two weeks reported alleviated symptoms in just two days. Overall, most patients experienced significant reductions in anxiety and depression.
The drug’s rapid-acting quality separates it from conventional selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a common type of antidepressant used to treat PPD in combination with the brexanolone injection. Most SSRIs take about a month to begin working.
“I think this could be life-changing for many women,” Dr. Jill Purdie, an OB/GYN and medical director at Pediatrix Medical Group, told Healthline. “I feel this pill could really help a lot of mothers struggling with depression and anxiety to feel better quickly and be able to better care for themselves and their children.”
According to Mayo Clinic, PPD is a serious form of depression that affects new parents after giving birth. It is long-lasting — so, this is not to be confused with the “baby blues,” which last a few days to two weeks postpartum. Symptoms of PPD include depression, excessive crying, severe mood swings, anxiety or panic attacks, withdrawing from family and friends, and difficulty bonding with your baby.
There is no singular cause of PPD, although it appears to be linked to a person’s genetics and physical changes after giving birth. Risk factors include a family history of PPD and a personal history of depression or PPD from previous pregnancies.
An estimated 13 percent of people who just gave birth will experience PPD. Despite this, the condition is still shrouded in stigma. With better treatments in development and more celebrities speaking out about their battles with PPD, it looks like the tide may finally be turning.
Check out these affordable mental health apps we love:
Source: Read Full Article