The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug specifically indicated for the treatment of postpartum depression.
The intravenous infusion of the drug brexanolone, which will be sold as Zulresso, developed by Sage Therapeutics, has been shown in clinical trials to work within hours to treat the symptoms of the specified mental ilness that impacts one in nine new mothers after childbirth and can last for months or even years. It has some mild side effects, such as headache, dizziness or excessive sleepiness. The treatment requires 60 hours of time and will be priced around $20,000 to $35,000. The initial list price for Zulresso in the United States will be $7,450 per vial, resulting in a projected average course of therapy cost of $34,000 per patient before discounts, according to the company. The number of vials is different after patient.
The medication will be available in June. "There are no FDA approved antidepressants for postpartum depression, so approval of the first medication of its kind is a breakthrough for patients," said Dr. Kristina Deligiannidis, the director of Women's Behavioral Health at Northwell Health's Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York. "Brexanolone in phase II and III trials demonstrated rapid antidepressant effects," she added.