05-07 Drugs to treat postpartum depression can soon be a reality

Posted in Depression

Drugs to treat postpartum depression can soon be a reality

It is natural to feel sad at times, and an individual usually tides over it within a couple of days. But when such symptoms are observed for a longer period of time and tend to affect the quality of life, it can be depression. However, the symptoms of clinical depression are quite different from that of sadness. It is also quite difficult to differentiate between the two problems initially. In most cases, depression usually goes undiagnosed which makes its treatment also difficult.

Of all the types of depression, there is one form experienced by women. Called postpartum depression (PPD), many women go through this phase of depression after childbirth. However, it is quite different from what people call as baby blues—accompanied by feelings of worry, sadness, and tiredness that a new mother experiences. Postpartum depression is more intense in nature and stays for a longer duration. The frequency of the symptoms, their duration and intensity could vary with every case.

PPD treatment is need of the hour

One should not ignore symptoms of postpartum depression. When left untreated, it becomes a major factor in disrupting the bond between the mother and her baby, which, in turn, may affect the overall development of the child. In the absence of any particular medicine available for PPD, talk therapy is an important means of overcoming the mild symptoms of the problem.

Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, perinatal psychiatrist running the Center for Women’s Mood Disorders at the University of North Carolina, says that a standard antidepressant would probably take up to six weeks to show the results.

However, there is some heartwarming news for women suffering from PPD. Sage Therapeutics has developed a unique formulation of a neurosteroid – brexanolone. The drug targets some of the hormonal changes. An initial trial was conducted on four patients with symptoms of severe postpartum depression at Meltzer Body’s UNC clinic. The trial was an open-label – patients as well as the doctors knew what they were getting into, but did not know whether it would work or not.

Clinical trials on patients included IV infusion of brexanolone for two days, said Jeff Jonas, CEO of Sage Therapeutics. “By the second trial, women had about a 70 percent remission rate and the changes were drastic. We followed these patients for about a month, and the large majority remained well,” he added. Soon after the success of the open-label trial, a phase 2 trial was also taken up. Apart from relatively mild side effects like dizziness and drowsiness, results from both had the same conclusions.

PPD afflicts a large number of women

Although postpartum depression or PPD is nothing new to the medical fraternity, it took several decades to bring it to the realm of intervention. Considering the available figures, conventional estimates say that 11 percent of women experience depressive symptoms during the first year of motherhood, others put that figure close to 25 percent. However, a huge number of women don’t seek help foe the problem. According to a study, fewer than 15 percent moms with symptoms of postpartum depression actually received any help.

Depression is treatable

Depression is a crippling disease that can wreck a person’s daily life, but it is treatable. It is important to intervene at the right juncture and avoid the risk of allowing it to become chronic and severe. If you notice symptoms of depression in yourself or in a loved one, connect with the Depression Treatment Centers of California to know about the best treatment facilities for depression. You can chat online or call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-678-0400 to get in touch with our trained professionals to know more about the best treatment centers for depression.


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