The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug specifically developed for postpartum depression.
The FDA has given the green light to an IV drug called Zulresso. In a company-funded study of new mothers with moderate or severe postpartum depression, half the women given Zulresso had depression end within two and a half days.
Levels of the naturally occurring hormone progesterone can plunge for some women after childbirth. Doctors say the infusion helps restore normal hormone levels and emotions.
Perinatal Psychiatrist Dr. Kristina Deligiannidis says, "Unfortunately many of our antidepressants are helpful in getting symptoms down, but not completely gone for many people. So this is a significant advance for women suffering with postpartum depression because of the rapid onset that they're well within 60 hours of receiving the medicine."
The price tag of the drug is stunning though. Sage Therapeutics says Zulresso will cost $34,000 without insurance, plus the costs involved with staying in the hospital or infusion center.
Health Insurance could help down that cost, but the amount of coverage will be determined by each insurance company.
Sage Therapeutics is also developing a second, similar treatment in pill form.
"Postpartum depression is a serious condition that, when severe, can be life-threatening," Dr. Tiffany Farchione of FDA's Division of Psychiatry Products said in a statement. "Women may experience thoughts about harming themselves or harming their child."
Postpartum depression affects about 400,000 American women a year.