Researchers have confirmed the efficacy of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to treat patients with depression for those who couldn't get relief through antidepressants.
The study by researchers at Butler Hospital, along with colleagues across the U.S., is one of the first studies to look at TMS in real-world clinical practice settings.
Previous analysis of the efficacy of TMS has been provided through more than 30 published trials, yielding generally consistent results supporting the use of TMS to treat depression when medications aren't sufficient.
"Those previous studies were key in laying the groundwork for the FDA to approve the first device for delivery of TMS as a treatment for depression in 2008," said Linda Carpenter, MD, lead author of the report and chief of the Mood Disorders Program and the Neuromodulation Clinic at Butler Hospital.
"Naturalistic studies like ours, which provide scrutiny of real-life patient outcomes when TMS therapy is given in actual clinical practice settings, are the next step in further understanding the effectiveness of TMS. They are also important for informing healthcare policy, particularly in an era when difficult decisions must be made about allocation of scarce resources," she noted.
In all, the study confirms how well TMS works in diverse settings where TMS is administered to a real-life population of patients with depression that have not found relief through many other available treatments.
The study summarized data collected from 42 clinical TMS practice sites in the US, and included outcomes from 307 patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) who had persistent symptoms despite the use of antidepressant medication.
Rates for "response" and "remission" to TMS were calculated based on the same cut-off scores and conventions used for other clinical trials of antidepressant treatments. Fifty-eight percent positive response rate to TMS and 37 percent remission rate were observed.
"The patient outcomes we found in this study demonstrated a response rate similar to controlled clinical trial populations," said Dr. Carpenter, explaining that this new data validates TMS efficacy in treating depression for those who have failed to benefit from antidepressant medications.
"Continued research and confirmation of the effectiveness of TMS is important for understanding its place in everyday psychiatric care and to support advocacy for insurance coverage of the treatment," she pointed out.
The study findings were recently published in the online edition of Depression and Anxiety in the Wiley Online Library.