THE first drug specifically developed for postnatal depression has been given the green light.
Regulators in the US today announced the approval of Zulresso, which is administered via an intravenous drip and reported to work within 48 hours.
Getty – Contributor The first drug specifically developed for postnatal depression has been approved by US regulators
Experts say it offers hope to millions of women who battle with postnatal depression after having a baby.
Half of those who trialled the drug said they experienced immediate relief from depression within two days.
Postnatal depression often ends on its own within a couple of weeks, but it can continue for months and even years.
It can be treated with antidepressants, which can take six to eight weeks to work and aren’t always effective for everyone.
What are the symptoms of post natal depression?Many women feel a bit down, tearful or anxious in the first week after giving birth. This is often called the “baby blues” and is so common that it’s considered normal. The “baby blues” don’t last for more than 2 weeks after giving birth.
If your symptoms last longer or start later, you could have postnatal depression. Postnatal depression can start any time in the first year after giving birth.
Signs that you or someone you know might be depressed include:
a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world
lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
difficulty bonding with your baby
withdrawing from contact with other people
problems concentrating and making decisions
frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby
Many women don’t realise they have postnatal depression, because it can develop gradually.
Speak to your GP or health visitor if you think you may be depressed. Many health visitors have been trained to recognise postnatal depression and have techniques that can help. If they can’t help, they’ll know someone in your area who can.
Dr. Tiffany Farchione of FDA’s Division of Psychiatry Products said: “Postpartum depression is a serious condition that, when severe, can be life-threatening.
“Women may experience thoughts about harming themselves or harming their child.”
The drug’s active ingredient, brexanolone, works by mimicking a derivative of the naturally occurring hormone progesterone, levels of which can plunge after childbirth.
The infusion helps restore normal levels and emotions, according to the chief executive of the pharmaceutical company, Dr Jeff Jonas.
Its most common side effects were sleepiness, dizziness and headaches.
A few women had more-serious problems, such as fainting and loss of consciousness.
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For that reason, regulators say it can only be administered at certified health care facilities where patients can be closely monitored throughout the infusion.
Sage Therapeutics Inc plans to begin selling the drug in late June.
A spokesperson for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said the drug hasn’t been referred for appraisal as of yet.
For more information about postpartum depression visit the NHS’s website or contact your GP.
Or you can call the National Childbirth Trust on 0300 330 0700 or visit their website: www.nct.org.uk/hiddenhalf
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