FDA Approval of First Treatment Indicated for PPD

Postpartum Support International Statement on FDA Approval of First Treatment Indicated for Postpartum Depression

March 25, 2019

On March 19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Brexanolone the first treatment indicated specifically for postpartum depression.

“As the leading organization serving on the front lines advocating for women and families, Postpartum Support International (PSI) supports FDA’s decision to approve this new treatment which can benefit women suffering from postpartum depression,” said Ann Smith, CNM, President of PSI.

The new treatment will require an infusion administered in a hospital setting and is expected to be available in the summer of 2019.

“It is important to recognize that treating postpartum depression (PPD) and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders can include, in addition to medication, self-help strategies, support groups, and counseling. We want families to realize that medications currently available are effective for many, but having an innovative medication that has been specifically studied in women with PPD and shown efficacy and improvements is an important milestone,” said Wendy Davis, PhD, PSI Executive Director.

“We recognize that a holistic approach is crucial to recovery, which is why we provide volunteers and support groups through our Helpline and in all 50 states and in 49 countries. We also educate families, train providers, and advocate to raise awareness and improve access to perinatal mental health care.  Women need to know that they are not alone, they are not to blame, and they can recover with a plan of self-care, and informed treatment and support,” she continued.

As many as one in seven new mothers experience postpartum depression or anxiety.  According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Perinatal Psychiatry, fewer than 40% of women who have PPD are actually diagnosed, and fewer than 10% receive adequate treatment.  The majority of women do not seek help for a variety of reasons, including lack of access, shame and stigma, and because they don’t understand the symptoms of depression. This isolation leaves them suffering alone with symptoms ranging from sadness, anxiety, intrusive fears, insomnia, anger, and despair.

“Women and families do not need to suffer with this devastating condition that has a ripple effect across children, partners, families and communities.  Women should have access to screening, life-saving treatment, support, and services. PSI provides confidential support, information, training, and referrals to local specialists. We know that women can get better, and we are here to help them find what they need to recover.” said Ann Smith, CNM, President of PSI.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the PSI HelpLine at 800.944.4PPD, text 503-894-9453 or visit PSI atpostpartum.net