A new pill currently in trials could be a “miracle” cure against postpartum depression
Postpartum depression (PPD) is one of the most common medical complications during and after pregnancy, and despite its prevalence is still underdiagnosed and undertreated, causing many mothers the world over to be thrust into this new role of caretaker while their mental health is slipping. Now, a so-called “miracle” drug is on the horizon as a clinical trial for a pill to treat PPD is showing extremely promising signs.
“PPD is estimated to affect one out of 8 women in the United States,” Scientists from The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research state in a press release, while adding that PPD is triggered in new moms in “part due to a disruption in the normal interaction between the nervous system’s stress response, ɣ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) signaling, and neuroactive steroids (NAS).”
Finding the right treatment for PPD has long been about trial and error.
Typically, new moms with PPD are prescribed anti-depressants and unless you land on the perfect cocktail of prescriptions the first time around, it can take months to figure out what works. Currently there is only one other drug outside antidepressants that is FDA approved to treat PPD, and it’s hard to get.
This new experimental drug, currently in clinical trials, works differently than a typical anti-depressant and is actually an oral neuroactive steroid called zuranolone (30mg) and according to researchers, it also works to rid women of depressive symptoms, and it does it pretty fast.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry and a press release from the researchers, “after two weeks of daily treatment, women treated with zuranolone had a statistically significant reduction in their core symptoms of depression compared to women who received a placebo.” Additionally, “more than half of the women enrolled went into FULL REMISSION of their clinical depression by the end of the 45 day trial period.”
One trial participant shared this heartbreaking tale with researchers about her struggle with postpartum depression, saying, “I didn’t feel a connection to the baby — but knew I had to do the trial. I had to force myself. Afterwards, I realized that I am not a bad mom.”
“Postpartum depression negatively impacts women, their families and it is often underdiagnosed and undertreated,” said Dr. Deligiannidis, the trial’s principal investigator, lead author on the paper and director of Women’s Behavioral Health at Zucker Hillside Hospital. “These encouraging results are an important step in efforts to develop a novel treatment option for patients who suffer from this prevalent condition.”
Trials like this one are why it’s so important that parents speak out about PPD. If nobody talks about it, we don’t get researchers looking into it, and then we don’t treatments. Though you can’t get this “miracle” pill from your doctor just yet, the latest study shows that it is one step closer to landmark FDA approval and that is awesome.