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J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2020 Mar 19:1-13. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2020.19306. [Epub ahead of print]

Cost-Effectiveness of Brexanolone Versus Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors for the Treatment of Postpartum Depression in the United States.

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Sage Therapeutics, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health (CEVR), Tufts Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill.
Medicus Economics, Milton, Massachusetts.



Brexanolone injection (BRX) was approved by the FDA in 2019 for the treatment of adult patients with postpartum depression (PPD), but its cost-effectiveness has not yet been evaluated.


To estimate the cost-effectiveness of BRX compared with treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for PPD.


We projected costs (2018 U.S. dollars) and health (quality-adjusted life-years [QALYs]) for mothers treated with BRX or SSRIs and their children. A health state transition model projected clinical and economic outcomes for mothers based on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, from a U.S. payer perspective. The modeled population consisted of adult patients with moderate to severe PPD, similar to BRX clinical trial patients. Short-term efficacy for BRX and SSRIs came from an indirect treatment comparison. Long-term efficacy outcomes over 4 weeks, 11 years (base case), and 18 years were based on results from an 18-year longitudinal study. Maternal health utility values came from analysis of trial-based short-form 6D responses. Other inputs were derived from the literature.


The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for BRX versus SSRIs was $106,662 per QALY gained over an 11-year time horizon. Drug and administration costs for BRX averaged $38,501, compared with $25 for SSRIs over the studied time horizon. Maternal total direct medical costs averaged $65,908 in the BRX arm, compared with $73,653 in the SSRI arm. BRX-treated women averaged 6.230 QALYs compared with 5.979 QALYs for the SSRI arm. Adding partner costs and utilities in a sensitivity analysis further favored BRX. Results were sensitive to the severity of PPD at baseline and the model time horizon. Probabilistic sensitivity analyses indicated that BRX was cost-effective at the $150,000-per-QALY threshold with 58% probability.


Analysis using a state transition model showed BRX to be a cost-effective therapy compared with SSRIs for treating women with PPD.


This study was funded by Sage Therapeutics, Cambridge, MA. Eldar-Lissai, Gerbasi, and Hodgkins are employees of Sage Therapeutics and own stock or stock options in the company. Gerbasi also reports previous employment with Policy Analysis Inc. Cohen contributed to this work as an independent consultant. Meltzer-Brody has a sponsored clinical research agreement with Sage Therapeutics to the University of North Carolina, as well as a sponsored research agreement from Janssen to the University of North Carolina, unrelated to this work. Meltzer-Brody has also received personal consulting fees from Cala Health and MedScape, unrelated to this work. Johnson, Chertavian, and Bond are employees of Medicus Economics, which was paid fees by Sage to conduct the research for this study. Study findings do not necessarily represent the views of CEVR or Tufts Medical Center.

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