According to a report by sciencealert.com, a novel form of antidepressant recently entered review by the FDA. While the new treatment is currently being examined for its effects on postpartum depression, the treatment may have implications for many mood disorders in a variety of cases should it prove successful. Perhaps most incredible is that the treatment appears effective within 24 hours. Keep reading to learn more about this unprecedented therapy, or follow the original story here for more information.
Breaking the Mold
The new treatment is a form of injection known as brexanolone. Proving successful, Brexanolone would be the first entirely new type of antidepressant in decades. Not only would it be the first drug of its kind, but it would also be the first drug designed to target postpartum depression (PPD).
Most modern antidepressant drugs are a form of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). While often effective, these drugs may takes as much as six weeks to show results. Brexanolone boasts the ability to work within one to two days. In cases of PPD, or in patients with rare conditions tied to mood disorders, this difference in time can be critical. The change from weeks to days could save lives.
The most recent information about Brexanolone can be found in a paper published in The Lancet. The study shows the remarkable timeliness with which the drug works. This information originates from three double-blind trials conducted against placebo treatments.
The study followed 209 women 18-45 years of age. Each presented with no more than six months distance form postpartum. Each also rated as moderate to severely depressed on Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D). Roughly half of the group received the brexanolone infusion, while the other half received placebo. Patients in the brexanolone group saw a reduction in depression in as little as 24 hours. Their average reduction in depression according to the HAM-D scale was 17 points. This compared favorably to the placebo group which saw a reduction of only 12.8 points.
Results of the treatment also stayed the duration. The study followed each participant for 30 days after treatment. Patients continued to experience decrease in depression during this time.
Researchers describe brexanolone as “a very different model” for treating depression. It is not only effective but relatively immediate. The effect also appear to last, giving it a certain longevity as a therapy. Side effects appear minimal according to early studies. Headache and dizziness appear to be as bad as it gets. The approval of brexanolone would signal a major leap forward in psychiatric medicine. Thus far, the FDA awarded brexanolone Breakthrough Therapy Designation, assigned a Prescription Drug User Free Act date in December of this year.