FDA approves drug to treat postpartum depression

Posted: Updated:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug specifically developed for severe depression after childbirth.

The agency on Tuesday approved Sage Therapeutics' Zulresso, an IV drug given over 2 ½ days.

Sage said Zulresso will cost $34,000 without insurance, plus costs for staying in a hospital or infusion center. Whether the treatment gets covered by insurance is determined by each insurance company, which also sets the out-of-pocket costs, depending on the plan.

In a company-funded study of new mothers with moderate or severe postpartum depression, half the women given Zulresso had depression end within 2 ½ days, about double the rate of those in a comparison group given dummy treatments.

Postpartum depression affects about 400,000 American women a year. It often ends on its own within a couple weeks, but it can continue for months or even years. It can be treated with antidepressants, which can take six to eight weeks to work and don't help everyone, or with counseling.

Zulresso's active ingredient, brexanolone, mimics 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 Sage Chief Executive Dr. Jeff Jonas.

The drug's most common side effects were sleepiness, dizziness and headaches. A few women had more-serious problems, such as fainting and loss of consciousness.

Because those risks could result in injury, the FDA said it is restricting Zulresso's use to certified health care facilities where patients can be closely monitored throughout the infusion.

The company is developing a second, similar treatment in pill form, and Marinus Pharmaceuticals is testing both a pill and IV therapy.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Dog Day Fridays for Sept. 20

    Dog Day Fridays for Sept. 20

    Friday, September 20 2019 8:15 AM EDT2019-09-20 12:15:09 GMT
    Popcorn is a female Lab mix, just shy of being 2 years old. She loves to go on walks and wants to investigate anything and everything. She is outgoing, playful and a typical happy puppy!Popcorn is a female Lab mix, just shy of being 2 years old. She loves to go on walks and wants to investigate anything and everything. She is outgoing, playful and a typical happy puppy!
    Popcorn is a female Lab mix, just shy of being 2 years old. She loves to go on walks and wants to investigate anything and everything. She is outgoing, playful and a typical happy puppy!Popcorn is a female Lab mix, just shy of being 2 years old. She loves to go on walks and wants to investigate anything and everything. She is outgoing, playful and a typical happy puppy!
    This week's dogs are up for adoption at North Fork Animal Welfare League. Their phone number is (631) 765-1811.
    This week's dogs are up for adoption at North Fork Animal Welfare League. Their phone number is (631) 765-1811.
  • Sample fare from stadiums across the US at MLB FoodFest

    Sample fare from stadiums across the US at MLB FoodFest

    Get ready to sample fare from baseball stadiums from across the country at the MLB FoodFest.
    Get ready to sample fare from baseball stadiums from across the country at the MLB FoodFest.
  • Dog Day Fridays for Sept. 13

    Dog Day Fridays for Sept. 13

    Friday, September 13 2019 10:35 AM EDT2019-09-13 14:35:41 GMT
    Koda is a 6-month-old Cane Corso.Koda is a 6-month-old Cane Corso.
    Koda is a 6-month-old Cane Corso.Koda is a 6-month-old Cane Corso.
    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Jake's Rescue Ranch. The shelter can be contacted via their website or email.
    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Jake's Rescue Ranch. The shelter can be contacted via their website or email.  
sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."