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HealthA New Oral Treatment Will Soon Be Available For Postpartum Depression

A New Oral Treatment Will Soon Be Available For Postpartum Depression

New mothers will soon have access to an oral treatment for postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression affects close to 1 in every 7 women who give birth in Australia each year. Though it’s safe to say that every parent will go through a period of adjustment as they navigate caring for a newborn and navigating the challenges that arise from a new baby in the household, for some this period can give rise to feelings of depression. Despite the fact that postpartum depression is especially common amongst new mothers, medications are limited when it comes to treatment. Thankfully, this could all be about to change as a drug treating postpartum depression may soon be available to take orally, greatly improving access for patients. 

Thanks to work by Monash University researchers in partnership with PureTech Health plc, an oral form of allopregnanolone has been created, with the pill having the potential to dramatically increase practicality and usability when it comes to postpartum depression treatment. Currently, allopregnanolone is the only FDA-approved medication on the market, but it has to be administered as a 60-hour intravenous infusion to ensure it breaks down in the liver. 

With the new development of this oral treatment, the drug is absorbed in the lymphatic system and directed away from the liver thanks to the human body’s lipid absorption pathways. As Women’s Agenda reports, “Professor Chris Porter and his team at Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences developed the new drug delivery technology, ‘Glyph’, which showed that when the drug was administered via the platform, systemic blood levels were roughly nine-fold greater than that of orally administered allopregnanolone, based on past data.”

The development is particularly groundbreaking, and marks the first clinical validation of the Glyph technology in humans. Speaking about the milestone in medicine, Professor Porter said: “These data show that allopregnanolone can be successfully administered orally, which is very encouraging not only for women with PPD, but also for those with other neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions, including other forms of depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders, who could benefit from an oral form of allopregnanolone.”

“Because Glyph re-routes drug transport via the lymphatic system, it has the potential to enhance the bioavailability of orally administered drugs like allopregnanolone. Since it selectively traffics therapeutics into the lymphatic system, it has the potential to target therapies to the immune system. We are hopeful that LYT-300 will be the first of many applications for Glyph.”

Scientists will now look to researching how the substance can best be administered by dose exploration and the effect of food on oral absorption too. The next stage in the multi-part program of LYT-300 will be its evaluation of safety and tolerability across a range of doses, before then hopefully identifying a dose to take forward. 

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