Transforming Postpartum Care: FDA Approves Zurzuvae as First Oral Treatment for Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a condition most new mothers do not expect. However one in seven woman develop postpartum depression. Research shows only 15.8% of women with PPD symptoms receive treatment. (Mughal) Having a new baby is a life change which brings on many emotions, sometimes these emotions lead to depression. Typically symptoms develop within the first few weeks after a mother has given birth. However in some cases symptoms of postpartum depression can start before a woman has given birth or up to a year after they have given birth.
What are the common mental symptoms of PPD?
Symptoms of postpartum depression can present themselves in a variety of ways. Many mothers experiencing postpartum have thoughts such as harming their baby, reoccurring thoughts of death and suicide, depressed mood or severe mood swings, change in eating habits, severe anxiety, intense irritability, and many other symptoms. Sometimes mothers are reluctant or embarrassed to get help. It is important for mothers to be reminded that this is fairly common and treatable.
Postpartum depression can be linked to the many changes a woman goes through after giving birth. Woman experience chemical, social, and psychological changes that happen postpartum. During pregnancy women’s reproductive hormones rise about ten times their normal range. Woman experience a rapid drop in hormones after delivery. The social and psychological changes that a new baby brings along with the chemical changes, are a trigger for postpartum depression. (Fulgum Bruce)
There are now new ways to treat postpartum depression. Previously medical treatments to treat postpartum are administered intravenously which is more invasive and time consuming for the patient.
What is ZURZUVAE™?
The FDA just approved ZURZUVAE™ (zuranolone) which is the first and only oral drug approved for treating postpartum depression. This drug is designed to be taken short term for the treatment of postpartum depression. This is an oral medication to be taken once a day for 14 days. Results can begin to show as soon as three days after starting ZURZUVAE. “ZURZUVAE is a neuroactive steroid (NAS) GABA-A receptor positive allosteric modulator (PAM). The GABA system is the major inhibitory signaling pathway of the brain and central nervous system and contributes to regulating brain function.” (Biogen)
It may feel helpless and isolating to go through postpartum depression. Women experiencing this should be reminded they are not alone in their struggles. It is important to speak to a medical professional and get treatment for your postpartum depression. Through therapy and medication postpartum depression is very treatable. New advancements in the treatments for postpartum depression such as ZURZUVAE will make treatment easier and more accessible. Therapy and or group therapy along with medication is the most effective way to treat and manage postpartum depression.
- Biogen. (n.d.). FDA approves ZURZUVAETM (Zuranolone), the first and only oral treatment approved for women with postpartum depression, and issues a complete response letter for major depressive disorder. https://investors.biogen.com/news-releases/news-release-details/fda-approves-zurzuvaetm-zuranolone-first-and-only-oral-treatment
- Fulghum Bruce, D. (n.d.). Postpartum depression: Symptoms, causes, risks, types, tests, professional and self-care. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/depression/postpartum-depression
- Mughal S, Azhar Y, Siddiqui W. Postpartum Depression. [Updated 2022 Oct 7]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519070/
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