Oral Allopregnanolone Analogue for Postpartum Depression Treatment

In 2015, we first reported on SAGE-547 (SAGE Therapeutics), a new medication for the treatment of postpartum depression (PPD).  SAGE-547, now called brexanolone, is a neurosteroid, an analogue of allopregnanolone and an allosteric modulator of GABAA receptors.  Since that time, Sage Therapeutics has conducted three randomized controlled trials, enrolling a total of 247 women diagnosed with moderate to severe postpartum depression.  Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted unanimously in...

Prenatal Exposure to Valproic Acid: ADHD and Other Deficits in Cognitive Functioning

Previous studies have shown that children exposed to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) during pregnancy may be at increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders.  In a recent population-based cohort study from Denmark, researchers examined the prevalence of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children with prenatal exposure to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs).  The conort included all liveborn singleton children born between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 2011 (N?=?913?302). Information on exposure to AEDs during pregnancy was obtained from the Danish...

Weekly Roundup for JANUARY 11, 2019: Recent Publications in Women’s Mental Health

Happy New Year! Only a week into 2019, there is no shortage of articles to review and discuss.  Over the last week, the article that has received the most press is the one documenting the association between prenatal use of valproic acid and increased risk of ADHD in exposed offspring.  This adds to a long list of deleterious effects stemming from prenatal exposure to valproic acid, including high risk of congenital malformations,  increased risk of...

Happy New Year from the Center for Women’s Mental Health

Another year, and an opportunity to reflect on the past year.  It has been another very active year in the field of women’s mental health, with no shortage of articles in this field.  We continue to see analyses addressing the reproductive safety of various medications; many of these studies have relied on large medical databases and have made a diligent effort to control for potential confounding factors, including maternal psychiatric illness. Many studies have focused...

Project TEACH Offers Phone Consultation to Providers in New York

We continue to make strides in terms of increasing public awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, but we still have a long way to go when it comes to providing access to mental health professionals with expertise in this area.  We are very excited about a new initiative. The MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health is now working collaboratively with the State of New York to provide educational materials and clinical support to providers...

Massachusetts Maternal Mortality Rates Rising: Opioid Abuse and Psychiatric Illness Play a Role

Pregnancy-associated mortality, defined as the death of a woman during pregnancy or within one year of the termination of pregnancy, is increasing in Massachusetts.  In 2012, there were 30.4 deaths/100,000 live births. In 2014, the rate increased by 33%, to 40.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. Because pregnancy-associated mortality rates have historically been relatively low in Massachusetts, this shift has led to further inquiry by the Massachusetts Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee (MMMMRC). In...