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FDA approves a drug to treat postpartum depression that only the rich can afford

March 21 , 2019

Photo: AFP

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved  on Tuesday the first drug specifically for the treatment of postpartum depression.

The drug, which is administered via an intravenous drip, reportedly works within 48 hours, providing near immediate relief to women experiencing symptoms, according to the New York Times.

The drug is called brexanolone — brand name Zulresso — and needs to be given in a healthcare facility under medical supervision. The drug is administered intravenously for a total of 60 hours and patients are monitored throughout.

“Postpartum depression is a serious condition that, when severe, can be life-threatening. Women may experience thoughts about harming themselves or harming their child,” the FDA said in a statement announcing the approval of the drug.

According to the statement, women can access the drug through a restricted distribution programme at a certified healthcare facilities.

Related: E-cigarettes and vaping linked to depression, heart problems, says study

Approximately 400,000 women suffer postpartum depression in the US every year. The approval comes after two successful clinical trials showed major improvement in women suffering from postpartum depression after taking the drug.

But the risks include loss of consciousness and abnormal oxygen levels in the blood, according to the FDA, which hasn’t yet decided if the drug is safe for women who are breastfeeding.

The drug infusion costs between $20,000 and $35,000, according to NBC. The drug will be available in June, according to CNN.

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