Many women in the United States (at least one in every nine women) experience postpartum depression and until now, no single drug has been created to combat it. As announced yesterday, the United States Food and Drug Administration has approved the first-ever drug for this condition.
The brand name of the drug is Zulresso and it is intravenously administered to the patient within a 60-hour period. While the effects of the drug are quick to reflect, it is going to be about $20,000 or more making it unaffordable for middle-income earners in society. The new drug will be distributed to people who can afford it in what is being called the Zulresso REMS Program according to the press release.
In a press release by the FDA, an executive at the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Tiffany Farchione, had this to say about Zulresso:
“Postpartum depression isn’t a problem to take lightly. In severe situations, a woman might consider harming herself or her child if care is not taken.”
Prior to the development of this drug, the only way to alleviate postpartum depression was through counseling and other depression medications. While these methods were effective, the results may not be observable for weeks. Without treatment, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, postpartum depression can last for months and even years.
The drug was developed by Sage Therapeutics Inc. and will be ready for sale in June according to Jeff Jonas, the CEO. He also confirmed that the drug was approved after the FDA examined the results of two clinical studies that proved that the drug is efficient in fighting postpartum depression. Both studies were sponsored by Sage and conducted with a 30-day period.
While the drug will originally be available in the intravenous form, the company will eventually work on making pill versions of it.