Sage Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel medicines to treat life-altering central nervous system (CNS) disorders, announced today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved ZULRESSOTM (brexanolone) injection for the treatment of postpartum depression (PPD). ZULRESSO is the first and only medicine specifically approved to treat PPD, the most common medical complication of childbirth. ZULRESSO is expected to be available in late June following scheduling by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which is expected to occur within 90 days.
Today’s approval of ZULRESSO represents a game-changing approach to treating PPD. The potential to rapidly reduce symptoms in this critical disorder is an exciting milestone in women’s mental health. PPD is recognized to have a significant and long-term impact on women and their families, but with ZULRESSO we may finally have the opportunity to change that,
said Samantha Meltzer Brody, M.D., M.P.H., Ray M Hayworth Distinguished Professorship of Mood and Anxiety Disorders and director of the Perinatal Psychiatry Program, UNC Center for Women’s Mood Disorders and primary investigator of the ZULRESSO clinical trials.
PPD can affect women during pregnancy or after childbirth. It is estimated PPD affects approximately one in nine women who have given birth in the U.S. Symptoms may include sadness, anxiety, irritability, withdrawing from friends or family, having trouble bonding with her baby and thinking about harming herself or more rarely, her baby. Without proper screening, up to half of PPD cases may go undiagnosed.
ZULRESSO was evaluated by the FDA under Priority Review, which is reserved for investigational therapies that, if approved, may offer significant improvements in the treatment, prevention or diagnosis of a serious condition. In 2016, ZULRESSO was also granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation status, underscoring the significant unmet need in women with PPD.
We are proud to be a part of this important moment in mental health, creating the opportunity for an unprecedented change in the way postpartum depression is thought about and treated moving forward. We are grateful for the patients, researchers, healthcare providers, advocates, caregivers and Sage employees who helped secure the approval of the first medicine specifically for postpartum depression. Not only do we believe ZULRESSO will address an important need for women’s mental health, the impact of PPD is multi-generational, and we look forward to bringing ZULRESSO to patients in urgent need of a new treatment option. We believe ZULRESSO will be a catalyst in starting a new dialogue emphasizing the importance of women’s mental health, and the importance of diagnosing and treating PPD,
said Jeff Jonas, M.D., chief executive officer of Sage
The FDA approval of ZULRESSO is based on findings from three multicenter, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trials, designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of ZULRESSO in women with moderate and severe PPD, aged between 18 and 45 years who were ≤6 months postpartum at screening and who had onset of symptoms no earlier than the third trimester and no later than the first four weeks following delivery.
In all trials at all doses, ZULRESSO achieved the primary endpoint, a significant mean reduction from baseline in the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) total score, a common measure of depression severity, at 60 hours compared to placebo. A reduction of depressive symptoms was also seen as early as 24 hours, and ZULRESSO maintained effect through the 30-day follow-up. The most common adverse events in the studies were sleepiness, dry mouth, loss of consciousness and flushing.