HomeBlogConditionsTipsExploring the Zurzuvae Mechanism of Action: What You Need to Know

Exploring the Zurzuvae Mechanism of Action: What You Need to Know

Today, women with postpartum depression have very few options for specialized treatment that offer rapid relief of symptoms. Now, there is Zurzuva, a medication that has received recent approval and uses a different mechanism of action compared to traditional antidepressants and, as a result, offers quick relief of symptoms for new mothers with limited side effects.

Overview of Zurzuvae

Zurzuvae is a new medication designed specifically for the treatment of postpartum depression in adults. It is the first and only daily treatment for women that provides rapid improvement for depression symptoms. It is taken as an oral supplement once per day over the course of 14 days. The oral tablets come in three different doses, and your doctor can help you decide which amount is best.

postpartum depression treatment New York

Zurzuvae Mechanism of Action

How does Zurzuvae work?

Traditional antidepressants work by inhibiting how much serotonin gets reabsorbed.

That means that they keep serotonin levels in your body for a longer amount of time, which can boost your mood.
The Zurzuvae mechanism of action is very different. This medication is a synthetic form of a neurosteroid called allopregnanolone. This neurosteroid is naturally occurring in the brain. But for those struggling with depression, it may not be at appropriate levels. Your body needs specific levels of this neurosteroid to help make progesterone and GABA-A receptors. These two things work together to regulate mood and behavior, preventing symptoms of depression.

As such, on a cellular level, the biochemical interactions behind the zurzuvae mechanism helps to increase your naturally occurring steroids so that your body can make progesterone and GABA-A receptors on its own and, as a direct result of that regulate your mood and overcome depression symptoms.

Clinical Efficacy and Benefits

The FDA has approved the Zurzuvae medication after several clinical trials confirmed that it could provide significant improvement for women struggling with postpartum depression in as few as three days.

Those same clinical trials confirmed that the majority of women experienced very few side effects other than dizziness and sleepiness even after taking the medication for 14 days. For up to 45 days after taking the medication, those same women did not experience a return of their postpartum depression symptoms.

Real-World Benefits

Postpartum depression can be debilitating, impairing daily function and presenting with a negative mood. Unfortunately, postpartum depression affects women of all races, statuses, and ethnicities and can interfere not only with a new mother’s ability to care for herself but also to bond with her new child.

There are very few medications today that can effectively provide relief, specifically from postpartum depression, but Zurzuvae medication now offers real-world use, such as improved quality of life or symptom management.

This is particularly important because for women who struggle with postpartum depression, delayed improvement in symptom management actually makes their outcome worse. This means that the longer a new mother goes without getting treatment for her symptoms, the worse her long-term outcome will be and the harder it will become to manage symptoms and get control over them.

Zurzuvae now offers a fast form of treatment that can rapidly reduce depression symptoms as early as the third day and up to 14 days after, providing women with a reliable way to get control over their depression sooner rather than later.

Safety and Side Effects

Activities to Avoid

In terms of safety there are specific activities that need to be avoided when you are on zurzuvae primarily because of the main zurzuvae mechanism. This includes avoiding driving a car, operating machinery, or engaging in other dangerous activity until at least 12 hours after each dose in large part because of the confusion, tiredness, and dizziness that are most common.

You cannot drink alcohol or take other medications when using Zurzuvae as it can lead to significant depression of your breathing or central nervous system. You need to talk to a doctor before using any type of medication in conjunction with Zurzuvae.

Substance Abuse

One of the primary ingredients in Zurzuvae is zuranolone, which can lead to dependence and addiction. For that reason, Zurzuvae is a federally controlled substance, and it brings with it risks of addiction. If you have struggled with addiction in the past or dependence on prescription medicines, illegal drugs, or alcohol, you should consider whether or not this is the right medication for you.

Side Effects

With Zurzuvae, side effects come in common and more severe categories. Common Zurzuvae side effects include:

  • Sleepiness
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Diarrhea
  • Common cold
  • Dizziness

Urinary tract infections
Of greater concern is that Zurzuvae medication can cause serious side effects like an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions, particularly for those 24 or younger.

Note: You should monitor for any mood changes or changes to thoughts and feelings, particularly suicidal thoughts. This is essential for anyone taking an antidepressant medication or changing their current dosage. If you notice any changes to your suicidal thoughts or mood, be sure to tell your healthcare provider. At the same time, always make sure that you maintain any follow-up visits as scheduled to monitor the efficacy of your medication.

Special Considerations

For those who are thinking of becoming pregnant, Zurzuvae medication can cause fetal harm.

For new mothers, Zurzuvae and breastfeeding concerns arise as the medication will get into the breast milk, and there is no information on the lasting side effects here. However, Zurzuvae is not to be prescribed to children, and as such, exposure in utero likely comes with several risks as well.

To that end, if you are considering Zurzuvae medication, and you are thinking of becoming pregnant, or you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you’ll need to find an alternative option and discuss when it is acceptable for you, based on lifestyle changes to consider this medication.


Zurzuvae mechanism of action is to encourage the body to make a neurosteroid called allopregnanolone, which is responsible for making progesterone and GABA-A receptors. By doing so, this zurzuvae mechanism helps regulate mood.

Today, the Zurzuvae medication is considered groundbreaking as it is the only oral tablet available to treat postpartum depression in adults. If you are considering this medication, consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you are breastfeeding or considering breastfeeding.

Thank you for visiting Good Health Psychiatry!

Do you have any questions or are you looking for an appointment? Feel free to contact us!