No Pill, Non-Invasive Therapy Effective for Depression

Depression is a debilitating illness, and for at least one third of individuals suffering from depression, existing medications and treatment options are frequently ineffective or intolerable due to side effects. 

Recently, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive, non-drug therapy approved by the FDA,  has been providing hope to patients suffering from major depression.  The new, no-pill therapy has been proven to be an effective antidepressant treatment in acute cases, but what about the long-term benefits of TMS ?

Psychiatric experts at Rush University Medical Center conducted a long-term study to test the durability of TMS and to find out how long its effects last.

This is the only prospective, maintenance, follow-up study which assesses the durability of acute TMS benefit in patients with major depression,” said Dr. Philip G. Janicak, study principal investigator and professor of psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center.

Researchers followed 99 patients for six months after giving them active TMS treatment and found that only 10 patients had relapsed during the 24-week period.  In addition, TMS was a safe and effective therapy to prevent relapse in 32 of 38 (84 percent) patients.  

The results of the follow-up study further support TMS as a viable treatment option for patients with major depression who have not responded to conventional antidepressant medications and that the therapy’s long-term effects can last for several months.

TMS therapy is a non-invasive technique that delivers highly focused magnetic field pulses to a specific portion of the brain in order to stimulate the areas of the brain linked to depression.  These magnetic pulses are of a similar intensity to the magnetic field produced during an MRI imaging scan.

Depression affects at least 14 million American adults each year.  Researchers estimate that by the year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability worldwide. 

For more information about the study, read the entire news release.

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