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Vox Sentences: The $34,000 drug that helps new mothers

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Relief for mothers with postpartum depression; Australia announces a new immigration cap.

FDA approves first drug for postpartum depression

mom baby hands Shutterstock
  • On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first-ever drug to treat postpartum depression. Brexanolone is a fast-acting drug that successfully relieved symptoms and kept conditions from returning in three clinical trials. [NYT / Pam Belluck]
  • This drug could help a lot of people. One in nine mothers experience symptoms of depression after childbirth. Brexanolone is administered through a one-time, 60-hour intravenous treatment, and patients reportedly feel results within a day. Postpartum depression has historically been treated with therapy or antidepressants. [WBUR / Robin Young and Savannah Maher]
  • Symptoms of postpartum depression often include feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or suicide, even if a patient didn’t have depression before her pregnancy. The condition could cost the relationship between a mother and her child — but the cost of the new treatment is also high. At $34,000 per patient before discounts, brexanolone, which goes by the market name Zulresso, is not yet covered by insurance providers. [Washington Post / Laurie McGinley and Lenny Bernstein]
  • Patients must receive the treatment at certified facilities by health care providers due to side effects such as sleepiness, dizziness, and sudden loss of consciousness. More than 200 women participated in clinical trials from 2016 to 2017. In the study, about 75 percent of participants reported a 50 percent improvement in their symptoms. [CNN / Jaqueline Howard]
  • Unlike other antidepressants, the drug works by targeting GABA, a neurotransmitter, to restore the balance in the brain to pre-pregnancy levels. The manufacturer, Sage Therapeutics Inc., is also developing a pill to make treatments more accessible. [Reuters / Saumya Joseph]

Australia tries to address urbanization by limiting immigration

  • Australia announced plans to decrease its immigrate intake by about 15 percent on Wednesday. The cut is an effort to address urban centers like Sydney and Melbourne, which are suffering from inaccessible housing and overcrowding. [Reuters / Colin Packham]
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the cap would go from a max of 190,000 immigrants to 160,000 for the next four years. He also declared a new visa program for skilled people, in which 23,000 individuals must live in the country’s regional areas for three years before qualifying for permanent residency. [Guardian / Katharine Murphy]
  • Morrison might not be helping his reelection cause. Australians go to the polls in May, and he isn’t doing very well in opinion polls. The PM is addressing complaints from cities about how immigrants are burdening infrastructure and job markets. These complaints come as nearby New Zealand addresses a mass shooting built on anti-immigration rhetoric — and political fear of migration. [Bloomberg / Jason Scott]
  • Australia is the 11th nation behind the US and Canada in annual immigration intakes. Muslims make up about 2.6 percent of that population. And more of these immigrants are temporary than permanent. [ABC / Jock Collins]
  • One concession Morrison made: International students are permitted to work in Australia for one year if they study outside major cities. $15,000 will be given to 1,000 foreign and domestic students to attend university in regional areas. [Sydney Morning Herald / David Crowe]


  • Here are the 50 victims of the Friday mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. [NYT / Megan Specia]
  • Overcrowding in facilities on the southern border has led President Trump to order for the release of some immigrant families, instead of sending them to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement for detention. [WSJ / Alicia A. Caldwell]
  • The Federal Aviation Administration will finally get a leader. The White House said on Tuesday that Trump will nominate Steve Dickson, a former Delta Airlines executive. Dickson will face an audit by the Department of Transportation regarding the approval of the Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane, which was involved in two related crashes. [Quartz / Tripti Lahiri]
  • Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev is stepping down after nearly three decades in power. His resignation means uncertainty for the energy-exporting country, which will seek to maintain relationships with nearby China and Russia. Nazarbayev will continue as head of the ruling political party. [WSJ / Thomas Grove and Ann M. Simmons]
  • Theresa May requested a delay to the March 29 Brexit deadline from Brussels. Leaders of EU member countries are likely to discuss delaying Brexit until June 30 at the European Council summit on Thursday — but no one knows what their response will be. [Politico Europe / David M. Herszenhorn, Florian Eder, and Charlie Cooper]


“Parents who pay and entrust the Wheeling-Charleston diocese and its schools to educate and care for their children deserve full transparency. Our investigation reveals a serious need for the diocese to enact policy changes that will better protect children...” [West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in a statement on Tuesday, after he filed a lawsuit against the state Catholic diocese]

Watch this: Why a cat always lands on its feet

In 1894, a French scientist used a camera to solve a physics problem. [YouTube / Coleman Lowndes]

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