The results of a recent small clinical trial could eventually offer hope to women suffering from postpartum depression.
Fortune reports that Massachusetts-based Sage Therapeutics’ experimental drug — called SAGE-547 — led to remission in seven of 10 patients.
A placebo group, by contrast, saw remission in just one of 11 cases, while the drug also reduced depression symptoms at a larger rate than conventional antidepressants.
A previous study eased depression in all four enrolled patients, and the drug also shows promise as a treatment for a rare form of epilepsy.
SAGE-547 is a synthetic version of the hormone allopregnanolone, which is believed to trigger postpartum depression when its levels drop sharply following childbirth. It is given intravenously and would only be given to women whose symptoms prompt hospitalization.
One analyst estimated that 200,000 to 600,000 patients could receive the drug each year.
“The rapid onset of action of this drug observed in the trial is unlike anything else available in the field to date,” Samantha Meltzer-Brody of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine said in a statement. “The data show the potential of the drug to provide relief from the debilitating symptoms of PPD, and to markedly decrease suffering in women who are severely affected.”
The results of the latest study led to a sharp increase in Sage’s stock price, but the Fortune report noted that treatments for depression often falter as clinical trials become larger.
Sage executives hope to conduct a bigger trial to confirm the drug’s dosage before filing with the Food and Drug Administration.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery