If you are struggling to find a treatment which helps your depression, you now have a new option to explore. On October 7, the NeuroStar TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) Therapy system, developed by Neuronetics, Inc., became the first and only TMS Therapy device to receive FDA approval for the treatment of severe, treatment-resistant depression.
TMS Therapy involves the delivery of highly focused MRI-strength magnetic pulses to nerve cells in an area of the brain that is linked to depression. Unlike Vagus Nerve Stimulation, another relatively new therapy for treatment-resistant depression, no surgery or implant is required. The patient remains awake during the entire 40-minute procedure, which is performed on an out-patient basis in a psychiatrist's office. Treatment is generally administered daily over a period of four to six weeks at a cost of about $200-300 per session.
TMS Therapy has been safely used on over 10,000 patients. During clinical trials, it was observed that there were:
- No systemic side effects, such as sedation, nausea or dry mouth
- No adverse effects on concentration or memory
- No seizures
- No interactions between the device and any drugs the patients were taking
The primary side effect that patients experienced was mild to moderate scalp pain at the treatment area, which declined after the first week of treatment.
Less than five percent of patients dropped out due to adverse events. No new safety observations were made during the six month follow-up period.
The Medical University of South Carolina, which conducted the research on the device, is currently the only location in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida where this treatment option is available. Patients will have access to the new treatment within two months.
Only adult patients with treatment-resistant major depression (those who have failed to achieve relief with other treatments or medications) are eligible for treatment. The treatment is not recommended for patients with implanted metallic devices or non-removable metallic objects in or around the head.
If you are interested in learning more about TMS therapy or how you can receive treatment, you can visit the MUSC website at http://www.muschealth.com/.