Los Angeles,
09:00 AM

LAist: FDA Approves Pill Designed to Work Faster for Postpartum Depression

LAist program AirTalk recently interviewed Cedars-Sinai experts Eynav Accortt, PhD, director of the Reproductive Psychology Program, and reproductive psychiatrist Olusinmi Bamgbose, MD, about the first federally approved oral treatment for moderate to severe postpartum depression.

Accortt and Cedars-Sinai patient Angelina Spicer also spoke with ABC 7 about the new medication, zuranolone (Zurzuvae).

Postpartum depression is a potentially life-threatening condition that affects about 1 in 7 new mothers, interfering with their ability to function and bond with their newborn.

Bamgbose told AirTalk host Austin Cross that individuals who develop severe postpartum depression respond differently to the sudden drop in hormone levels at delivery than those who experience the more common “baby blues.”

“If they’re starting to have thoughts like, ‘I can’t do this. My child would be better off without me,’ or ‘I’m a terrible mother. I’m a terrible parent,’ and they’re not eating or they’re not sleeping, then I really start to get concerned,” Bamgbose told Cross.

Accortt said zuranolone can start working in three days and lasts up to 45 days—an improvement over treatments with a slower response time or that involve inpatient psychiatric care.

“Considering that you could stay at home, take a medication such as this and feel better within three days is a pretty incredible achievement,” Accortt told Cross.

Accortt told ABC 7 reporter Denise Dador that a fast-acting therapy could be a game-changer: “When you are pregnant or postpartum, every day is critically important for you to bond with your newborn.”

The new medication could reduce stigma and encourage those who are experiencing postpartum depression to seek treatment, said Cedars-Sinai patient Angelina Spicer. She received in-patient psychiatric treatment for postpartum depression at a Southern California hospital following the birth of her daughter in 2015. Spicer now uses comedy and activism to support others who have the condition—many of whom are women of color.

“Now we also have a pill to go with it,” Spicer told Dador. “I’m so excited.”

Click here to listen to the complete episode of AirTalk. Click here to watch the entire segment on ABC 7.