"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Fast-acting drug against postpartum depression is effective

July 28, 2023 – The FDA is considering approving a drug for postpartum depression that may work quickly – in as little as three days. Promising results for the drug zuranolone were published on Wednesday in The Journal of American Psychiatry.

About 17% of girls experience postpartum depression (PPD) while pregnant or after childbirth, the study authors found. The condition often results in less breastfeeding, poor bonding between mother and child, and impaired behavioral, emotional and brain development in the child. Severe PPD can result in maternal suicide, which accounts for 20% of all postpartum deaths, they wrote.

The study The study included 196 individuals who had given birth previously 12 months and were between the ages of 18 and 45. The participants suffered from major depression that began within the third trimester of pregnancy or in the primary 4 weeks after giving birth. Among the participants, 22% were black and 38% were Hispanic.

Fifty-seven percent of patients taking zuranolone experienced significant improvement in depression symptoms after 14 days of taking the drug, and 27% experienced remission of depression after completing 14 days of treatment. The average time to significant improvement in symptoms was nine days. Most patients who experienced improvements maintained their improvements throughout the 45-day follow-up period. The commonest unwanted side effects were dizziness, dizziness, and drowsiness.

Currently, treatment for PPD involves taking antidepressants, which might last as long as 12 weeks.

The researchers noted that the study only included women with severe PPD and excluded women with a history of bipolar or psychotic disorders. The women within the study weren’t allowed to breastfeed, so the effect of zuranolone on lactation is unknown, they wrote.

A Press release from February from pharmaceutical company Biogen indicated that the FDA may settle on the drug's approval by August 5.