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Butler Hospital
Butler Hospital

Clinical Trial Results-TMS for Depression

The data collected in clinical trials with the TMS therapy device resulted in FDA clearance “for the treatment of major depressive disorder in adult patients who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from one prior antidepressant medication at or above the minimal effective dose and duration in the current episode."

In an “open label” trial, which is most like a real world clinical practice, approximately 1 out of 2 patients treated with this TMS therapy device used experienced significant improvement in depression symptoms. Approximately 1 out of 3 patients treated with TMS therapy experienced complete symptom relief at the end of six weeks.

There have been several different TMS devices studied over the past decade, and not all have produced convincing results that TMS works for relieving depression. More recent studies have used different “doses” of stimulation than older studies, and many experts in TMS research believe that refinements of TMS dosing account in part for the more promising results of the newer studies. Another factor that may determine treatment outcomes is patient selection. There is evidence that patients whose depression is resistant to two or more adequate antidepressant medication trials are not as likely to benefit from the TMS therapy as patients who have only had one adequate antidepressant medication trial. Some studies of TMS have applied the stimulation to the right side of the head, or to both left and right sides of the head, but the majority of studies have examined the effect of TMS over the left side, targeting the left dorso lateral pre-frontal cortex region of the brain.

Your doctor can tell you, in general terms, how your particular case of depression and your past treatment history compare with the patients who were subjects for the TMS clinical trials conducted to evaluate the type of TMS device used at Butler Hospital. Doing so may help you better understand your likelihood of experiencing positive antidepressant effects from TMS, but there is no way to guarantee or predict with certainty whether TMS will work or not for treatment of depression in any individual patient.

Independent research studies indicate that the magnetic field generated by the magnets can help reduce symptoms of depression with little or no side effects.

Back to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

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