Zurzuvae (zuranolone) is a prescription drug that’s used to treat postpartum depression. The drug comes as a capsule that you swallow. It’s usually taken once per day for 14 days.

Zurzuvae is used in adults to treat postpartum depression. This is a mood disorder that can occur following childbirth. Zurzuvae may be prescribed alone or with other antidepressant medications.

The active ingredient in Zurzuvae is zuranolone. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) Zurzuvae belongs to a group of drugs called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) A receptor modulators.

This article describes the dosages of Zurzuvae, as well as its strengths and how to take it. To learn more about Zurzuvae, see this in-depth article.

This section describes the usual dosages of Zurzuvae. Keep reading to learn more.

What is Zurzuvae’s form?

Zurzuvae is available as an oral capsule.

What strengths does Zurzuvae come in?

Zurzuvae comes in three strengths:

  • 20 milligrams (mg)
  • 25 mg
  • 30 mg

What are the usual dosages of Zurzuvae?

Your doctor will likely start you on the recommended dosage of Zurzuvae. They may adjust your dosage based on your response to treatment or if you experience certain side effects. They’ll ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Dosage for postpartum depression

The typical Zurzuvae dosage for adults with postpartum depression is 50 mg taken by mouth once per day in the evening for 14 days.

If you experience serious drowsiness or confusion with the 50-mg dose, tell your doctor. They’ll likely adjust your dosage to 40 mg taken once per day in the evening for 14 days to check whether that’s a better option for you.

Is Zurzuvae used long term?

No, Zurzuvae is only used for 14 days to treat postpartum depression. It’s not meant for long-term use. If you have questions about how long you’ll need to take Zurzuvae, talk with your doctor.

Dosage adjustments

Your doctor may adjust your Zurzuvae dosage in certain situations. These include:

If you have questions about any dosage adjustments you may need with Zurzuvae treatment, talk with your doctor.

The dosage of Zurzuvae you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:

  • how your body responds to Zurzuvae, including whether you have certain side effects (see the “Dosage for postpartum depression” section above)
  • your race (studies indicate that if you’re Black, your body may remove Zurzuvae from your system more quickly, compared with other racial groups)
  • other medications you may be taking
  • other conditions you may have (see the “Dosage adjustments” section above)

Zurzuvae is available as an oral capsule you swallow. You should take Zurzuvae in the evening with a fatty meal (see this article for suggestions on healthy fats). Taking the drug with food that contains high levels of fat helps your body absorb the medication. Try to take Zurzuvae around the same time each day to keep steady levels of the medication in your body.

If you have trouble swallowing capsules, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication.

For information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Zurzuvae, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Accessible drug containers and labels

Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:

  • have large print
  • use braille
  • feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

Let your pharmacist know if you have trouble opening medication bottles. They may have tips to help, or they may be able to supply Zurzuvae in an easy-open container.

If you miss a dose of Zurzuvae, take your next dose at its usual time. Do not take two doses of Zurzuvae to make up for a missed dose. This can increase your risk for side effects of the medication.

If you’ve missed a dose and have questions about what to do, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you need help remembering to take your dose of Zurzuvae on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.

Zurzuvae is a Schedule IV controlled substance. A controlled substance is a drug that the government regulates due to the risk of dependence or misuse. Schedule IV drugs have an accepted medical use and typically have a low potential for dependence or misuse.

However, Zurzuvae does have a risk of misuse. The term misuse refers to taking a drug in a way other than how a doctor prescribes it. Examples of misuse include using the drug more often or at higher doses than recommended by your doctor.

You should take Zurzuvae only as your doctor has prescribed. Misuse increases the risk of overdose, which can lead to trouble breathing, coma, and even death.

Do not take more Zurzuvae than your doctor prescribes, as this can lead to harmful effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an overdose can include reduced consciousness. They can also include:

What to do in case you take too much Zurzuvae

Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Zurzuvae. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach America’s Poison Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

Taking Zurzuvae can lead to physical dependence. This condition occurs when your body relies on a drug to function as usual.

In some cases, if you suddenly stop taking Zurzuvae, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. (These are side effects that can occur when you stop taking a drug that your body has become dependent on.)

If you’re taking Zurzuvae as your doctor recommended, the risk of withdrawal symptoms is low. The risk is increased if you’re taking a dosage of Zurzuvae that’s higher than the recommended dosage. It’s also increased if you take the drug longer than 14 days and suddenly stop taking it.

Examples of withdrawal symptoms include:

  • insomnia
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • nightmares
  • paranoia
  • abdominal pain

Tell your doctor if you have a history of substance misuse or substance use disorder. They can determine whether Zurzuvae is the best option for you. And talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about withdrawal or dependence while taking Zurzuvae.

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Zurzuvae’s dosage.

Is Zurzuvae’s dosage similar to the dosage of Zulresso?

No, it’s not. While Zurzuvae (zuranolone) and Zulresso (brexanolone) are both used to treat postpartum depression, their dosage forms, strengths, and dosages are different.

Zurzuvae comes as capsules you take by mouth once per day in the evening for 14 days. It’s available in three strengths: 20 mg, 25 mg, and 30 mg.

Zulresso, on the other hand, comes as a liquid solution that’s given by a healthcare professional as a one-time intravenous (IV) infusion. It’s given slowly into a vein over 60 hours (2.5 days) in a hospital or clinic. Zulresso’s dosage is based on body weight.

To learn more about how these drugs compare, talk with your doctor.

How long does it take for Zurzuvae to start working?

In studies, symptoms began to improve within 3 days of starting treatment with Zurzuvae. Your doctor will monitor you during treatment to check whether the drug is working to treat your condition.

If you have other questions about what to expect from your Zurzuvae treatment, talk with your doctor.

The sections above describe the usual dosages provided by the manufacturer of Zurzuvae. If your doctor recommends Zurzuvae for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.

Remember, you should not change your dosage of Zurzuvae without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Zurzuvae exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.

Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Will I need a lower dosage of Zurzuvae if I’m taking other medications for my condition?
  • Would I have a higher risk of side effects with the 50-mg dose of Zurzuvae compared to the 40-mg dose?
  • Am I at risk of withdrawal symptoms after I stop taking Zurzuvae?

To learn more about Zurzuvae, see this article.

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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.