State health leaders share insight into first approved pill to help treat postpartum depression

State health leaders on approval of postpartum depression pill
Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 11:27 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The US Food and Drug Administration approved the first oral treatment for postpartum depression on Friday.

Up until now, the only treatment available to new moms struggling with depression was by IV injection.

The medication is called Zurzuvae or Zuranolone and Dr. Wes Stubblefield with the Alabama Department of Public Health says it’s a positive step that can help women who may be struggling after giving birth.

He says that as many as 15% of women may experience postpartum depression.

The condition as defined by the FDA is a major depressive episode that typically occurs after childbirth but can also begin during the later stages of pregnancy.

Dr. Stubblefield says while doctors don’t fully understand it, they think medical history, genetics, and hormones can play a part. He says the condition can be very serious, even life-threatening, if not treated properly.

“People need to understand that it’s a real condition,” he explains. “It is not a failure of mom’s ability to take care of their newborn infant. It is something that is treatable and something that can be potentially life-saving for mom and baby.”

Reports have not yet revealed when the medication will be available.

If you’re a new mom who is feeling a sense of sadness, guilt, or worthlessness, Dr. Stubblefield says it’s vital you share that with your doctor so you can get help quickly.

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