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Response to TMS Sustained in Depression

Pam Harrison | September 17, 2014

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The final analysis of a study evaluating transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) confirms that the majority of patients with resistant depression who respond to TMS in the acute setting continue to have a sustained response for a period of 1 year, an observational trial shows.

David Dunner, MD, director, Center for Anxiety and Depression, Mercer Island, Washington, and colleagues reported that 68% of 257 patients who had received TMS during the acute treatment phase had improved by the end of the 12-month follow-up and that 45% had experienced complete remission at 1 year.

“These are patients with treatment-resistant depression who are difficult to treat, who generally do not get better easily. TMS not only got people better with the usual course of about 30 treatments in the acute treatment phase, but we showed that the benefit was maintained over a 1-year period in the majority of patients who improved,” Dr. Dunner told Medscape Medical News.

“So I view TMS as a treatment for people who have a new depression and who have a history of failing 3 or 4 prior treatments for depression, where it is unlikely that the antidepressant is going to work. In that population, I think we get good results, and the results justify the use of TMS and the cost of treatment as well.”

The final results of the observational study were published online on September 16 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Preliminary long-term results were first reported from the American Psychiatric Association meeting in 2013 by Medscape Medical News. The study was supported by Neuronetics Inc.


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