FDA approves first pill for treatment of postpartum depression

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Zurzuvae, which is the first pill to treat postpartum depression in adults.

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The treatment was first available as an IV injection that is given by a health care provider, according to the FDA. Now, it is available in pill form.

“Postpartum depression is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition in which women experience sadness, guilt, worthlessness — even, in severe cases, thoughts of harming themselves or their child. And, because postpartum depression can disrupt the maternal-infant bond, it can also have consequences for the child’s physical and emotional development,” Tiffany R. Farchione, director of the Division of Psychiatry in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a news release. “Having access to an oral medication will be a beneficial option for many of these women coping with extreme, and sometimes life-threatening, feelings.”

Once the pills are available for purchase, new mothers can buy the pill form that is more convenient. According to The Wall Street Journal, the maternal mortality rate in the United States is the highest since 1965.

Clinical trial data found that the pill works fast and eases depression as soon as three days, according to The New York Times. This is faster than other antidepressants that can take at least two weeks for patients to see changes. This pill is also designed to take for just two weeks, not for months.

“The most significant aspect of the approval may not be the features of the drug, but that it is explicitly designated for postpartum depression,” the Times said. The hope with the pill is that more women will get help and medical personnel will screen for symptoms and suggest therapy or treatment.

Some of the most common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, diarrhea, fatigue, a cold, and urinary tract infection, according to the FDA. The recommended dose is 50mg and should be taken once a day for 14 days in the evening with a “fatty” meal.

Postpartum depression happens typically after childbirth but according to the FDA, it can start toward the end of the pregnancy.



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