On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug designed solely to treat postpartum depression. The drug is administered through an intravenous drip and reportedly works within 48 hours, according to the New York Times.
The mood disorder that some mothers experience after giving birth has historically been treated with counseling or generic antidepressant medication, which can take weeks to work, if at all. The newly approved brexanolone will be able to provide mothers with relief almost immediately.
The drug will be marketed as Zulresso and administered only at certified medical centers as an in-patient option. According to an F.D.A. press release, the drug can cause a sudden loss of consciousness. A pill form of the drug is currently undergoing clinical trials, meaning that brexanolone could become more widely available in the future.
Zulresso alone could cost over $30,000 per patient, not including the further costs of staying at a hospital. But manufacturer Sage Therapeutics expects insurance companies to cover the cost of the treatment.
“Postpartum depression is a serious condition that, when severe, can be life-threatening,” Dr. Tiffany Farchione, the F.D.A.'s acting director of the Division of Psychiatry Products, said. According to the American Psychological Association, up to 14% of mothers experience postpartum depression.