Deep Bench: Recently approved FDA drug to treat postpartum depression

(WZAW) -- According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September is one of the most common months for childbirth in the U.S., making it an especially important time to give attention to maternal health.

In a breakthrough for maternal mental health, Zulresso, the first and only treatment specifically approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for PPD, is now available at sites of care certified under the Zulressso Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy throughout the U.S.

The most common side effects of Zulresso include sleepiness, dry mouth, passing out, flushing of the skin or face.

An estimated 400,000 women in the U.S. are affected by PPD annually, and about half of them may go undiagnosed. PPD, one of the most common medical complications during and after pregnancy, is a major depressive episode that can occur during pregnancy or after childbirth.

Women who have PPD may experience emotional, physical and/or behavioral symptoms, such as feeling sad, hopeless, empty or overwhelmed, physical aches and pains, and avoiding friends and family, among others.

The debilitating symptoms of PPD can affect more than just mom – they can also negatively impact birth and infant outcomes, as well as one’s relationship with a partner and that partner’s mental health.

PPD can also have a long-term impact on a child’s development. In the U.S., annual estimates on the prevalence of PPD vary by state from eight to 20%, with an overall average of 11.5%.

The unique nature of PPD can make it challenging to navigate the pathway to care. Sage Therapeutics, Inc. has created “Sage Central,” a program that offers a range of patient support resources and programs for women with PPD and their families, including:

- Dedicated case managers called Sage Central Navigators, who can provide information to help patients navigate the treatment journey

- Personalized support to assist patients with understanding insurance and coverage options

- Financial assistance programs for eligible patients

- Additional resources, such as educational materials and connecting patients to support within their community