Central Texas Hospital first to offer FDA approved postpartum depression treatment

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Central Texas mom is getting ready for a treatment that doctors say will make a big difference in her postpartum depression. 

Family Emergency Hospital at Lake Travis is the only facility in Central Texas to provide Zulresso. The FDA-approved treatment is given through an IV over two and a half days.

“Being able to take a woman who is so depressed she can’t even get out of bed, and within a day or two and half with infusion therapy to be able to elevate her mood back to where it’s more balanced,” said CEO of Family Health Systems Dr. Henry Higgins “We think that’s going to have a more dramatic effect on really cutting down on the amount of suicides that occur from postpartum depression.”

Donna Kreuzer says Zulresso would have saved her daughter’s life. 

“She never wanted for much. However, she wanted to become a mommy.” said Kreuzer “Have a baby, become a healthy – happy mommy and the ability to raise her healthy – happy baby for the duration of their lives.” 

Kristi Couvillon-Wise, 36, lost her battle with postpartum depression in 2010. “Kristi never ever let on to me or to her husband that she was suffering with postpartum depression until 8 weeks later, and she could no longer hide the suffering, the torture, the heartache, the nightmare of severe postpartum depression.”

Her family got her help immediately, but say nothing worked.

“This is a life saver,” said Psychiatrist Dr. Kristin Lasseter “I think women with moderate to severe depression are probably the best candidates.”

Dr. Lasseter says studies show relief within 60 hours. Right now she says moms are being treated with antidepressants which can take up to 8 weeks to work.

“Weeks is a long time to wait to be suffering,” explained Dr. Lasseter ” We lose a lot of women from postpartum depression because we can’t have them get better fast enough.”

Dr. Lasseter says there’s not enough research in terms of if the drug is safe during breastfeeding. Studies found the most serious side effect: loss of consciousness. Zulresso costs $34,000 without insurance.

Dr. Lasseter worries this could delay treatment. She says some insurance companies will cover it, but under certain circumstances.

“What Zulresso could have done for Kristi was to get her well,” said Kreuzer. “She would have been able to resume her health. Her hope would have been restored.”

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