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Experts encourage parents to carefully weigh options with postpartum depression treatment

The FDA just approved a new drug to treat postpartum depression for the first time, but experts stress parents should weigh all of their options first.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Florence Paquet says for the more than 400,000 women who experience postpartum depression every year, no two experiences are the same.

"I think a really important thing is that people understand that postpartum looks different for everybody," she said.

Paquet is a therapist and a doula who supports mothers in Knoxville. She said even though there are certain symptoms most women experience, it really just depends on the person.

"Depression is talked about the most, but there's also OCD and anxiety and excessive thoughts," she said. "All of those symptoms are normal and common and highly treatable."

She said even though the most common method of treatment is antidepressants, even those can take time to actually work. 

"Those take a while... two to six weeks to get in to your system, and even then they might need some sort of adjustment," she said.

But a new drug approved by the FDA promises a much different experience. Zulresso, the trademarked version of the drug brexanolone, is administered intravenously over two and a half days. It requires mothers to stay in a hospital, and without insurance it can cost $34,000 plus hospital costs.

►READ MORE: FDA approves first postpartum depression drug

Paquet said even though this new drug could cut down recovery time, the cost may count a lot of people out.

"That sounds like something that only very few people in our population can access," Paquet said. "I almost don't expect the parents that need this the most to be able to afford it."

But whether you choose a medicine or take up therapy, Paquet said the most important thing is for parents to know they are not alone.

"There's help and [postpartum depression] is normal, very common, and there is treatment," she said.

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