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Medical Muse: March 2019 Issue

Medical Muse


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Controversy over the First FDA-Approved Postpartum Depression Treatment


It’s not uncommon for women to experience the “baby blues” in the aftermath of labor. Feelings of sadness, anxiety, fatigue or apathy can plague the first few days of motherhood. If the symptoms persist or increase in severity, however, they may indicate a more serious condition.


Research from the CDC shows that about 11 percent of women suffer from postpartum depression across the country, with rates jumping to as high as 20 percent in some states. Until now, women with this condition were being prescribed SSRIs used for general depression, which proved to be an insufficient fix.


The lack of treatment options impairs the bond between a mother and her newborn baby, as the mother struggles to give her child the sensory feedback and care the baby desperately needs at this fragile stage of development and attachment.


With so many women suffering from this disease and the serious implications it can have on families, one would think we would’ve developed a drug to treat postpartum depression long ago. But only last month the FDA approved the first postpartum depression drug to hit the market.


Brexanolone, or Zulresso, works by using a synthetic form of the hormone allopregnanolone. This hormone steadily increases throughout a woman’s pregnancy then is almost depleted after she gives birth. Many researchers believe this drop in allopregnanolone is the culprit for postpartum depression.


The good news is that the drug works, with many women experiencing significant improvement within the first 24 hours of treatment that persists for the next 30 days. The bad news—the treatment is a whopping $34,000, not including the 60-hour hospitalization requirement for the IV infusion.


While it is a one-time price, having that kind of expense looming over a new or growing family may not seem worth it to most, especially on top of the healthcare costs of the delivery and having to budget for the new baby.


At least having this drug on the market is a step in the right direction. But until its manufacturer develops a pill form or it goes generic once the patent expires, relief cannot come soon enough to all the mothers and their babies who will suffer.  


Locum Tenens vs. Permanent Placement: Which Career Path is Better for You?


Making a change in your career is scary no matter how many years you’ve been in practice. To get to where want to be, however, taking that next step may be necessary.


We all come to a point in our lives when our jobs no longer give us the fulfillment we need, or they make us feel like we have to compromise our personal lives. This path inevitably leads to unhappiness, disengagement and burnout—all of which set you up for failure.


Too many people stick with jobs they hate, and the numbers show: Over half of Americans report being unhappy at work, and a staggering 87 percent of them are disengaged. They would rather be comfortably miserable than pursue the unknown to find better opportunities.


Of course the uncertainty is scary, and there’s a whole list of things to consider before taking on a new job. For starters, one major decision providers need to make is whether they want to work a locum tenens or permanent assignment for their next career move.


The type of assignment you want totally depends on your personal and professional goals, as well as the type of lifestyle you want. To help you navigate your options, this guide will outline the pros and cons you need to consider when choosing between a locum or perm job. Read the full guide here.