UC Davis research leads to first drug specifically for postpartum depression

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UC Davis research leads to first drug specifically for postpartum depression

Source: The Sacramento Bee

Federal regulators have approved the first drug treatment specifically for women with postpartum depression, an innovation made possible because two UC Davis Health researchers took a closer look at a steroid that has anti-depressant potential, the health system announced late Thursday.

The University of California licensed UCD’s patented discovery to publicly traded Sage Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company based near Boston, and the company’s share price has risen since March 19 when it reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved sales of the new drug Zulresso.

In clinical trials, the treatment significantly reduced depression for women who received the drugs, compared with women who received a placebo, according to Sage’s news release. Patients experienced relief as early as 24 hours, and that effect was maintained through a 30-day follow-up. Researchers chose a widely used screening tool known as the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale to measure levels of depression.

Roughly one in every nine U.S. women who give birth will experience postpartum depression, according to statistics from Sacramento-based UCD Health, and more than half of them may go undiagnosed without proper screening. Women who have postpartum depression experience symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, sadness, withdrawal from friends or family, and trouble bonding with their newborn. They also may think of harming themselves and, in rare cases, their children.

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