For the First Time, There’s a Pill for Postpartum Depression,
August 22, 2023

Amy Bingham suffered from postpartum depression in 2018 after giving birth to her son, Benjamin. She received the new drug, zuranolone, in a clinical trial and said her symptoms gradually improved.

Dear Friend,

We always like to keep you abreast of the latest news in depression research.

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration approved zuranalone, the first pill for the treatment of post-partum depression (PPD). A similar treatment had previously only been available intravenously over a five-day inpatient hospital stay. Having this relief in a lower-cost pill form makes the treatment accessible to more people. The drug was developed by Sage Therapeutics and Biogen. Click here to read the recent news coverage.

Zuranalone is not an SSRI-type drug, rather it contains a brain hormone produced by progesterone. Thus, it can help women who develop PPD as a consequence of the major drop in progesterone that happens after childbirth.

Dr. Eric Nestler, Chair of HDRF’s Depression Task Force, explains how the pill is a welcome development: “Standard antidepressants like SSRIs are very effective in treating postpartum depression. There are two advantages to zuranolone: (1) it seems to act faster – within a few days as opposed to the weeks it can take the standard drugs; and (2) it is approved specifically for postpartum depression, which might help promote its use.”

The groundwork for this new drug was laid over many years and underscores one of the central tenets of our mission – that more basic neuroscience research into depression is needed to find new and better treatments. We celebrate this progress within the depression research community, as every milestone is an important step forward.

Thank you for your great support of our research mission.

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