Women with severe postpartum depression may experience suicidal ideation, and maternal deaths from suicide account for about 20% of all deaths that occur postpartum.
It’s estimated that each year in the United States, more than 400,000 babies are born to mothers who are depressed. Without any treatment, postpartum depression can last for months or even years, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the medication zuranolone for the treatment of postpartum depression – making it the first FDA-approved oral pill in the United States specifically for postpartum depression, a serious mental illness that can develop in about 1 in 7 new mothers after childbirth.
Clinical trial data show the pill works quickly, beginning to ease depression in as little as three days, significantly faster than general antidepressants, which can take two weeks or longer to have an effect. That — along with the fact that it is taken for just two weeks, not for months — may encourage more patients to accept treatment, maternal mental health experts said.