Zuranolone for Postpartum Depression

Zuranolone, an innovative medication, has emerged as a potential game-changer in the treatment of postpartum depression (PPD). This guide provides an in-depth look at Zuranolone, its benefits, potential side effects, and other critical aspects for patients and their loved ones.

What is Zuranolone?

Zuranolone is a type of medicine that has shown promise in helping women with severe postpartum depression (PPD) and other forms of depression.

In a study with 151 women, those who took Zuranolone felt better and showed fewer signs of depression as early as the third day, and these improvements lasted for over a month. Some women experienced side effects like feeling sleepy, dizziness, headaches, stomach upset, cold-like symptoms, tiredness, and dry mouth, but no severe problems were reported.

If you’re considering trying Zuranolone, it’s important to discuss it with your doctor to see if it’s right for you and to be monitored while taking it. While Zuranolone offers hope for those with depression, more studies are needed to know its full effects and safety.

Is Zuranolone an effective treatment option for Postpartum Depression?

Zuranolone seems to be a promising medicine for treating postpartum depression (PPD). In two major studies, women who took Zuranolone felt better and had fewer signs of depression within just a few days.

Moreover, this improvement lasted about a month after they stopped taking the medicine. The FDA, which checks the safety and effectiveness of drugs, has approved Zuranolone.

One big advantage of this medication is that you only have to take it for 14 days to see results.

What is the recommended dosage of Zuranolone for Postpartum Depression?

Zuranolone is typically taken once in the evening for two weeks to help with postpartum depression. The usual amount is 30 mg, but sometimes it might be 50 mg, especially if taken with a meal with some fat. Your doctor will tell you the best amount for you.

You can take Zuranolone by itself or with other depression medicines. If you’re of child-bearing age, using birth control while on this medication is essential because it could harm an unborn baby.

What potential side effects could arise from taking Zuranolone?

When considering Zuranolone for postpartum depression, it’s essential to be aware of its possible side effects:

  • Feeling Drowsy or Less Alert: After taking Zuranolone, you might feel less alert or have trouble focusing for about 12 hours. This means you should avoid driving or using machinery during this time.
  • Mood Changes: Some people might feel more drowsy or confused. If you’re feeling this way, take it easy and avoid tasks that need sharp thinking.
  • Thoughts of Self-Harm: In rare cases, some people might have more thoughts of hurting themselves. If this happens, talking to someone or seeking help is essential.
  • Other Common Feelings: You might feel dizzy, more tired than usual, or have stomach issues like diarrhea. Catching a cold or getting a urinary tract infection might also be more common. If any of these bother you a lot or don’t go away, let your doctor know.
  • Breastfeeding: If you’re breastfeeding, talk with your doctor. A small amount of Zuranolone might get into breast milk, but it’s less than with other depression medicines.
  • Special Health Conditions: If you have liver or kidney issues, your doctor might give you a different amount of Zuranolone.
  • Other Substances: Be cautious when using Zuranolone with things like alcohol or pain medicines, as they can make you feel more drowsy.
  • Pregnancy: If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, using birth control while on Zuranolone is crucial. This is because it might harm the baby.
  • Regular Check-ins: It’s a good idea to have regular check-ups with your doctor to see how the treatment is going. They can use special tools to see your feelings and if the medicine is helping.

Who is most suitable for taking Zuranolone and why?

Zuranolone is most suitable for patients with severe postpartum depression (PPD). In clinical trials, it has demonstrated significant improvements in depressive symptoms compared to a placebo. The medication is generally well-tolerated, with somnolence, dizziness, and sedation being the most common side effects. Zuranolone does not cause severe negative effects or increased suicidal thoughts.

ACOG recommendations state that zuranolone is suitable for individuals with depression starting in the third trimester of pregnancy or within four weeks postpartum. It can be used alone or with other oral antidepressant therapies like SSRIs and SNRIs.

The recommended daily dose of zuranolone is usually 50 mg, taken in the evening with a fatty meal for 14 days. Patients with severe hepatic or moderate to severe renal impairment may require dose adjustments. It is crucial to complete the full treatment course to maximize benefits.

Patients should be aware of potential adverse reactions and exercise caution when driving or engaging in potentially hazardous activities.

Combining Therapies with Zuranolone for Postpartum Depression

Considering Zuranolone for postpartum depression (PPD), you might wonder about other therapies that can work alongside it.

  • SSRIs: These are common antidepressants. When used with Zuranolone, they can give an extra boost in managing those tough feelings.
  • Talk Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy (IPT) can help you navigate and understand your feelings better.
  • Support Groups: Being around other moms who’ve been through PPD can be comforting. You’ll realize you’re not alone, and they might have tips and experiences to share.
  • Healthy Habits: Doing things like regular exercise, eating balanced meals, and getting good sleep can make a world of difference. They can enhance how you feel while on Zuranolone.
  • Lean on Loved Ones: A good support system—family, friends, or your healthcare team—can be invaluable.
  • Trying Something New: Some moms find relief in alternative treatments like acupuncture or relaxation techniques. If you’re curious, talk to your doctor to see if these might fit alongside Zuranolone.

Clinical Studies on Zuranolone for Postpartum Depression

Clinical studies show that Zuranolone can effectively treat postpartum depression (PPD).

  • Phase 3 Clinical Trial: In one study with 151 women with PPD, those who took Zuranolone every day for two weeks felt significantly better than those who took a placebo (a pill with no medicine). The great news? Many women started feeling better after the third day and continued to feel that way for over a month.
  • The ROBIN Study: Another study named the ROBIN study had similar findings. With 153 participants, it showed that women felt a rapid improvement in their depression symptoms, again as early as the third day of treatment.
  • Other Studies: There were also studies within programs called NEST and LANDSCAPE. These mainly looked at people with general depression, but they also highlighted the potential of Zuranolone in helping moms with PPD.

How these studies were designed, especially being double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled, makes their findings robust. In simpler terms, this means the studies were done in a way that minimizes biases and provides more reliable results.

PostpartumDepression.org Team
Reviewed by:Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Medical Editor

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Kimberly Langdon is a Doctor of Medicine and graduated from The Ohio State University in 1991. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Ohio State University Hospitals, Department of OB/GYN. Board-Certified in 1997, she is now retired from clinical practice after a long and successful career. Currently, she is the Founder and Chief Medical Officer of a Medical Device Company that is introducing patented products to treat vaginal microbial infections without the need for drugs. She is an expert in Vaginal Infections, Menstrual disorders, Menopause, and Contraception.

Written by:

Jenna Carberg was diagnosed with postpartum depression following the birth of her daughter in 2016. It was a healthy birth but in the following days, Jenna's mood changed quickly. Doctors suggested that it might be the "baby blues", but her husband Chris suggested she seek a second opinion. Jenna was diagnosed with postpartum depression and began a journey that lasted 9 long months with significant ups and downs. Jenna's mental health care and her experiences became a passion for her to share with the world. She and her husband Chris founded PostpartumDepression.org as a support website designed to help women suffering in silence and their loved ones.

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