Pharma, Hormones, and Postpartum Depression

If you’ve been following the latest medical news, you may have heard of a newly FDA-approved pharmaceutical that treats postpartum depression called Zulresso. I was very excited to learn more about this drug as I believe post-partum depression is under-diagnosed and under-treated. This new drug currently costs $35,000 and needs to be administered in the hospital over several hours, making it both out of reach financially, but also potentially very impractical for a new mother caring for an infant. They are working on a pill that would be taken daily.

However, until that day comes I would like to discuss what is actually in this drug. Zulresso (brexanelone) is a form of allopregnenalone – a hormone that your body already makes, but which plummets post-partum and may be a contributing factor in post-partum depression. Pregnenalone is a precursor to just about all your hormones, and anyone who has had a hormonal imbalance can tell you, it can severely affect mental and emotional well-being.

Allopregnenalone has been found in the human placenta along with other hormones and nutrients which may be beneficial for postpartum depression.  So if you are looking for an alternative to this ground-breaking drug, please consider encapsulating your placenta. Having your placenta professionally encapsulated is significantly more cost effective and convenient than an IV requiring hospitalization.

Resources:

Young SM, et al. Presence and concentration of 17 hormones in human placenta processed for encapsulation and consumption. Placenta 2016;43: 86-9.

Young SM, et al. Effects of placentophagy on maternal salivary hormones: A pilot trial, part 1.  Women Birth 2017; Nov 23 [in press].