Sage Therapeutics Announces FDA Approval of ZULRESSO (brexanolone) Injection, the First and Only Treatment Specifically Indicated for Postpartum Depression
Sage Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SAGE), 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.
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“Today’s approval of ZULRESSO represents a game-changing approach to treating PPD,” 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. “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.”
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,” said Jeff Jonas, M.D., chief executive officer of Sage. “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.”
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.
About Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression (PPD) is the most common medical complication of childbirth. PPD is a distinct and readily identified major depressive disorder that can occur during pregnancy or after giving birth. Expert opinions vary as to the timing of the onset of PPD, ranging from onset during pregnancy up to 4-weeks postpartum and onset during pregnancy up to 12-months postpartum. PPD may have devastating consequences for a woman and for her family, which may include significant functional impairment, depressed mood and/or loss of interest in her newborn, and associated symptoms of depression such as loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, motor challenges, lack of concentration, loss of energy and poor self-esteem. Suicide is the leading cause of maternal death following childbirth. PPD affects approximately one in nine women who have given birth in the U.S. and 400,000 women annually. More than half of these cases may go undiagnosed without proper screening.
About ZULRESSO (brexanolone) injection
ZULRESSO, the first medicine specifically approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of postpartum depression, is an allosteric modulator of both synaptic and extrasynaptic GABAA receptors. Allosteric modulation of neurotransmitter receptor activity results in varying degrees of desired activity rather than complete activation or inhibition of the receptor. ZULRESSO is approved by the FDA for the treatment of PPD in adults, pending DEA scheduling. ZULRESSO has been granted PRIority MEdicines (PRIME) designation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Important Safety Information:
What is ZULRESSO?
ZULRESSO is a prescription medicine used in adults to treat a certain type of depression called Postpartum Depression.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION