Huntsville doula says new postpartum drug may not help those who need it most

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The FDA recently approved a drug for new mothers who suffer from postpartum depression. A local mother of two and founder of Breathe.Love.Birth Doula services, Kaelie Harris, said it’s a step in the right direction.

“I think it’s great that people and doctors are looking more into postpartum depression and things that they can do,” said Harris.

The new drug, Brexanolone, is said to work faster than any other antidepressant on the market. Women given the drug in clinical trials started to feel better as early as 48 hours later. Most of the current antidepressants for new moms take nearly a month to start having an impact.

Harris said she dealt with baby blues after both her children were born, specifically postpartum anxiety. “I just thought I was going crazy a little bit.’

There is one known issue with the new drug, it will cost new moms $34,000 to get treatment.

“It makes me wonder who’s able to afford that and who that’s helping,” explained Harris. “It seems like that’s something that will help people that are very, very wealthy.”

Insurance companies don’t cover the cost of treatment yet. Treatment also takes multiple days and moms with lower incomes may have work obligations. An extended hospital stay may also require mothers to find a caretaker for baby.

“How’s that going to affect the mom having to be away from her brand new baby if the mom maybe has guilt towards that?”

Nonetheless, Harris said there are plenty of ways to fight baby blues affordably.

She said it can be as simple as building a support system, getting out of the house and getting active.

Kaiser health said nearly 50% of U.S. births are covered by Medicaid.

Sage Therapeutics, the company that manufactures the postpartum drug, said it’s working to get the drug covered by insurance and said it’s very likely to happen.

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