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This search function provides links to outputs produced by NIHR Innovation Observatory. These are briefing notes or reports on new or repurposed technologies. This search will not return all technologies currently in development as these outputs are produced as required for our stakeholders.

Innovation Observatory > Reports > Drugs > Brexanolone for postpartum depression

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Brexanolone for postpartum depression

Drugs

Mental Health, Drug Abuse and Learning Difficulties

January 2019


Brexanolone as an injection for intravenous infusion is in clinical development for women with moderate and severe postpartum depression (PPD). PPD is a mood disorder that can
affect women after childbirth. Women with PPD experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that may make it difficult for them to complete daily care activities
for themselves or for others. After childbirth, the levels of certain hormones in a woman’s body quickly drops, leading to chemical changes in areas of the brain that regulates mood.
Current treatment of PPD with existing medications such as antidepressants do not address the underlying chemical changes, often resulting in treatment failures.
Brexanolone is an active product of the female reproductive hormone progesterone that regulates a specific neurotransmitter involved in a range of behaviours, including the stress
response. Some small studies have shown that brexanolone rapidly and significantly improves the symptoms of PPD and other hormonal mood disorders when compared to
other treatments. If licensed brexanolone would be the first PPD treatment that specifically targets the underlying disease process in PPD.

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