The US Food and Drug Administration approved the first oral pill to treat postpartum depression. PPD is a major depressive episode that typically occurs after childbirth but can also begin during the later stages of pregnancy.
The new medication, known as zuranolone, works more quickly than existing antidepressant treatments for postpartum depression and is given once a day for just two weeks.
Until now, treatment for PPD was only available as an IV injection given by a health care provider in certain health care facilities.
One in seven people who have given birth experience postpartum depression, but roughly half of people with the condition do not receive treatment.
“Postpartum depression is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition in which women experience sadness, guilt, worthlessness—even, in severe cases, thoughts of harming themselves or their child. And, because postpartum depression can disrupt the maternal-infant bond, it can also have consequences for the child’s physical and emotional development,” said Tiffany R. Farchione, M.D., director of the Division of Psychiatry in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Having access to an oral medication will be a beneficial option for many of these women coping with extreme, and sometimes life-threatening, feelings.”
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