For anyone who has suffered from postpartum depression, or has watched someone go through it, you know just how terrible it is. And considering some 11 percent of women suffer from postpartum depression, you likely know someone who has been affected.
And yet, less than 15 percent of those with PPD received help.
Up until now, there hasn’t been a medication that specifically helps PPD. While it largely mimics clinical depression, considering the hormonal differences, it’s not quite the same. Plus, depression medication and current treatments for PPD often take weeks to kick in — and weeks can be too long for many, especially when suicidal thoughts are involved.
But there’s a new drug, brexanolone, that could help within days. Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, a perinatal psychiatrist who runs the University of North Carolina’s Center for Women’s Mood Disorders, worked with biotech firm Sage Therapeutics to develop the drug.
The drug, is meant to target the changes in hormones and is given in the form of an injection. After a successful first trial, Meltzer-Brody told The Huffington Post how thrilled she is:
What’s really exciting to me is that there is no drug on the market that is a neurosteroid that acts in this way. It’s going after an entirely different mechanism of action. It would be something that would potentially treat women for postpartum depression in days. And that, I think, would be an amazing, positive step forward.
A phase 2 trial also showed positive results. However, the caveat here that the phase 3 trials have yet to be published in peer review journal. While the company intends to file a new drug application with the Food and Drug Administration this year, none of this is as official as we’d want it to be just yet.
That being said, Meltzer-Brody makes a strong case, saying how one patient did a complete 180 in just 24 hours:
The first patient we infused was someone who was extremely depressed, had lost 20 pounds in a short period of time postpartum because she wasn’t eating at all, was very sad, didn’t want to interact with the baby — didn’t want to interact with anyone — and the family was extremely concerned. Twenty four hours after the infusion, she came out of her room, was smiling, ate her whole lunch, was talking to everyone. It was dramatic.
Incredible. Hopefully, the phase 3 trial shows positive and successful treatment, because this medication could change lives.