Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy has seen more and more support in the medical community since it was approved by the FDA in 2008 to treat depression.
Dr. Adam P. Stern explored TMS in Harvard Medical School’s blog.
The article says TMS therapy may be the best option of treatment for patients who:
- Do not experience adequate relief from antidepressant medications and psychotherapy, and want to avoid the risks of severe side effects of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), like memory and cognitive loss.
Dr. Stern also notes that standard antidepressant medications don’t work on most depression patients the way they should:
“Approximately two-thirds of people with depression don’t get adequate relief from the first antidepressant they try,” the writer explains. “After two months of treatment, at least some symptoms will remain for these individuals, and each subsequent medication tried is actually less likely to help than the one prior.”
By contrast, the outcomes for patients undergoing TMS therapy are quite promising.
According to Dr. Stern, “Approximately 50% to 60% of people with depression who have tried and failed to receive benefit from medications experience a clinically meaningful response with TMS… About one-third of these individuals experience a full remission…”
Since TMS is non-invasive and considered safe for most candidates, many depression patients opt for more rounds of treatment.
Harvard’s acknowledgment of TMS as a viable treatment option for depression is important. It strongly suggests the larger medical community is beginning to recognize TMS’s value and effectiveness.