There’s a New Drug for Postpartum Depression and It Isn’t All Good

The information below is based on the opinion of the writer. You are encouraged to speak to your health care provider to make decisions about diagnosis and treatment.

Most people who know me know my open and honest story with my battle with postpartum depression. I’m an open book when I talk about how it literally took over everything in my brain. And my life for that matter. It wasn’t just the baby blues—this was almost two years of torture that nearly took killed me.

The future for my kids’ mother was on the line and ten years ago there wasn’t a drug that could help me.

The antidepressants I was on threw things off for months because it takes 2-4 weeks for the drug to get in your system. From there, it either worked or it didn’t. If it didn’t work? I’d battle the issue even more in my head. I assumed giving into meds would “fix” me. The amount of dread that enveloped me in a time when society was telling me to get over it was debilitating in and of itself. Throw in the fact that nothing was working? You can imagine how much I went off the rails. The amount of shame surrounding depression from society is devastating for any woman trying to “get it together.”

There is a part of me that wants to celebrate the fact that there is finally a drug on the market specifically designed for fighting postpartum depression. In case you missed it, this week the FDA approved a drug called Zulresso. However, after feeling excited for the women who can benefit from it, I dug into the facts and I’m baffled. Just as I thought we were making headway we still have so much further to go.

The good news is that this is the first time a drug has been specifically approved to fight postpartum depression. That is great news, really. The bad news is that the normal, everyday new mom won’t have access to it. The drug is only available to patients through a restricted program at certified health care facilities to allow for a 2.5 day monitoring in a health care setting. Evidently, the drug has serious potential side effects like sedation and sudden loss of consciousness which require monitoring. Zulresso is administered as a continuous IV infusion. Patients have to opt in the special program before they can be admitted. That is a GIANT process for a struggling new mom to go through.

I guess the alternative is being admitted to a psych hospital for a typical 72-hour evaluation is comparable. But that’s not the only issue here. The cost of this drug will make it even harder to get.

Take a deep breath. Cause the $35,000 price tag is enough to take your breath away!

Spending $35,000 on a drug that should save your life is beyond unacceptable. It’s part of the reason low-income women have such a hard time with health and wellness. Every woman deserves to feel good about motherhood. It’s a beautiful thing. I can see it for what it is now that I’m so far out of that new baby stage. Every woman deserves relief. Postpartum Depression is so real. There is no shame in wanting to feel happier in your life. Especially with a beautiful new baby in your arms. I hope that ways can be found to make this drug more accessible to women who are struggling with postpartum depression.

I’d love to hear what you think about it. Did you struggle with PPD?

Joey Fortman (Founder, RealityMoms)

Joey Fortman is the brains behind #RealityMoms. In 2008, after 20+ years in traditional media hosting radio shows around the country, Joey traded in the microphone for a diaper bag, struggling through her own personal crisis: unemployed, overweight and lost in the land of mommy bloggers. Little did Joey know, her traditional media background would pave the way for success at Real Mom Media. As a sought after media magnet, Joey has been featured nationally on Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Anderson Cooper, the Katie Couric Show, Dr. Oz, Redbook, The Today Show, The Talk, Fox and Friends & The Newlywed Game. When not at the sports complex with one of her kids, on an island or a grocery store run, or on Facebook Live with #RealityMoms contributors, Joey is obsessed with adult coloring.