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UPMC Media Relations 

Women Needed for Study of Estrogen to Treat Postpartum Depression

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 3, 2010 – One of every eight women experience depression following the birth of a baby. To help such women, researchers at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC and Magee-Womens Research Institute are seeking mothers between the ages of 18 and 45 to participate in a study to determine if depression in the three months after childbirth can be treated with the hormone estrogen.

Participation involves contact with study staff, either by telephone or in person, for eight weeks. After the first visit, mothers will be randomly assigned to receive their first dose of estrogen (delivered as an estradiol skin patch), the antidepressant medication Zoloft, or a placebo. Women who respond to treatment will continue in the study for an additional 16 weeks.

All enrolled women receive expert psychiatric assessment, consultation with treatment recommendations, and a review of mental health care options whether they decide to participate in the study or not. These services are provided free of charge by an internationally recognized team of perinatal psychiatry specialists. All participants will receive information on breastfeeding, childcare for appointments, and study medication without cost with the hope of making treatments better for postpartum women in the future.

Participants can earn up to $315 in compensation if all scheduled visits are completed. Compensation for transportation, including bus tickets or parking cost, also will be provided. The study is underwritten by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. For more information, call toll-free 1-800-436-2461 or visit

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