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Postpartum depression is depressingly common, and it has lots of terrible consequences for moms, for kids, and for families. A new drug is about to hit the market, but it's not a great fit for everyone, and it is PRICEY.

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Yes, there's a new drug for maternal depression. No, it's not for everyone. This is Healthcare Triage news.


Maternal depression is horrible. Something like one in seven women who have a baby can suffer from it. It has a whole host of downstream bad effects for mom, baby, and the family. There's been no focused treatment for it in the past, and it's unclear how well generalized treatments work for postpartum depression.

But, a new drugs been introduced called Brexanalone or Zulresso. It'll hit the market this summer, and it works faster, in about three days starting it, as opposed to weeks for other antidepressants. Women who were treated reported feeling better for like a month after they got it.

What makes it different? It targets the hormonal system (which differs for postpartum women) instead of the usual targets in the brain for antidepressants.

That's what makes it special. The results of the trial showed that it worked better than placebo, sometimes much better, to reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression.

But, the cost: $34,000 before insurance, according to the company. Maybe you can get insurance to cover it. Maybe you can find a way to pay for it. But, that's just the beginning of the issues.

The drug has to be given intravenously, and it needs to be given by a steady infusion over 60 hours in an inpatient monitored setting. So, you'd need to be able to spend that much time (with a new baby, remember) in order to get the treatment.

Oh, and one of the side effects is passing out. Which, is not something you really want to have with a new baby. And, it goes into the breast milk. So, no one's sure what the best things for breast-feeding moms is to do.

But, postpartum depression is so bad that for many women this will still totally be worth it. Both the price and the inconvenience. Expect debate over the pros and cons to continue, however.


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