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As FDA reviews postpartum depression pill, Borderland resources offer support

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- For many new mothers, mental health during and immediately after childbirth is a major concern. An estimated one in eight women who give birth in the U.S. show signs of postpartum depression, according to the CDC.

Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is looking into a pill that claims to help with postpartum depression symptoms.

The pill is called Zuranolone, and it's been granted priority review under FDA guidance. This means the Administration is both checking the safety of the pill, but also how effective the results are of using the medication.

While this potential medication could improve mental health, there are options available right here in El Paso right away.

The University Medical Center of El Paso offers support for both mothers and babies in their postpartum suites, which includes a wide range of support -- while treating the mother in close proximity to the child.

UMC's program involves the Edinburg Postnatal Depression screenings, which is used globally to check the mental health of new mothers -- and if they have any signs of depression or the baby blues. This way, they can connect support directly to new mothers quickly.

The proposed pill under consideration by the FDA is designed to be taken daily over a roughly 14 day period. It's produced by Sage Therapeutics and Biogen. According to Biogen, the pill can also treat major depressive disorder as well.

Biogen says Zuranolone is a neuro-active steroid, and tries to quickly rebalance regulation of neural activity to improve the functions of the brain. The developers say it focuses on certain areas of the brain responsible for mood, arousal, behavior and cognition.

The pill has been under testing for some time. Some recent results from the third leg of a trial period showed promising signs of improvement for depressed individuals.

The FDA could make a decision by August 5.


Avery Martinez is the Be Mindful Reporter for ABC-7, supported in part by Report for America. RFA helps provide reporters for under-covered topics across the country.

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