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University Health doctors are excited about a revolutionary new postpartum medication

Two women sit inside a radio studio. The woman on the left is gesturing with her left hand and talking at a microphone while the other woman listens.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Dr. Tiffany Ruffin, left, and Dr. Traci Jonson on KCUR's Up To Date.

Postpartum depression affects approximately one-in-seven women and one-in-10 men. This fall, a newly approved medication could change how patients experiencing perinatal or postpartum mood and anxiety disorder are treated.

Maternal mental health is listed as the leading underlying cause of maternal mortality, and for the first time, an oral medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat perinatal or postpartum mood and anxiety disorder.

The drug, Zurzuvae, will be taken once a day for two weeks. It's expected to be commercially available as soon as October.

It's unclear how accessible it will immediately be, or what the cost will be. But Dr. Traci Johnson, a maternal-fetal medicine physician at University Health, said this new medication is a start for addressing maternal mental illness.

"It's revolutionary because we're trying," said Johnson. "What I'm excited about is that we actually have money going into pharmacology from pharmaceutical research, that something has been approved, and that has been approved in women and birthing people, because we never do research on medications for women in birth."

  • Dr. Traci Johnson MD, maternal-fetal medicine physician,University Health
  • Dr. Tiffany Ruffin PsyD, psychologist specializing in maternal mental health, University Health
  • Leslie Carto, external communications manager, University Health
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