There is concern, nowadays, in congress about the high cost of medications. On March 19, the FDA approved a drug being hailed as the first to be approved for the treatment of postpartum depression (PPD). The cost for the drug alone is expected to be $20,000-$35,000, and requires the additional cost for hospitalization during its IV administration lasting 60 hours.

The primary component of this drug is allopregnaneolone, which is a breakdown product of a hormone called progesterone. When women are pregnant, the placenta pours out progesterone during the second and third trimester. It is a natural antidepressant and is responsible for allowing some women to feel wonderful during their pregnancy. Soon after delivery, progesterone levels plummet, and, not surprisingly, some women experience postpartum depression.

Natural, bio-identical progesterone has been available for over 70 years, before the FDA was founded, and thereby never received FDA approval as a drug. Needless to say, the logical treatment for PPD is a 5% progesterone cream in a 5% strength, available OTC at a fraction of the cost of the new drug. In addition, there is an FDA-approved progesterone capsule called Prometrium which requires a prescription. One of the downsides to oral progesterone is that it is down-regulated by the liver into a different hormone called allopregnaneolone – the same primary component of this newly approved medication. So there are two available alternative choices, especially for those women unable to have insurance to pay for the new drug.

A part of the brain called the amygdala controls our emotions. It has a large number of progesterone receptor sites which explains why progesterone is so effective for treating PPD.

Michael E. Platt, MDAuthor, “The Miracle of Bio-identical Hormones”