TMS therapy has been widely tested in over 60 clinical studies, for various clinical indications, in leading institutions worldwide. The FDA has cleared TMS therapy for treatment resistant depression and it is currently available in the U.S., Europe, and South America.
TMS has been proven to be safe and generally well tolerated. The treatment does not cause any systemic side effects, which are the effects generated by medication entering the bloodstream and circulating throughout the body, such as insomnia, weight gain and sexual dysfunction. The most common side effect is temporary, mild pain or discomfort in the area of the treatment site, which occurs during the TMS therapy session. This typically occurs only during the first week of TMS treatment. Other side effects may include muscle twitching and jaw pain.
TMS therapy should not be used if the patient has metal implants in or around the head (except for standard amalgam dental fillings).
In another study, lasting 18 weeks 2, a significant decline was found in patients’ depressive symptoms after 4 weeks of TMS treatment, and was maintained throughout the study. The treatment was generally well tolerated and no adverse events were reported. According to the study results, TMS continuation treatment can help maintain an anti-depressive effect for 18 weeks, following 4 weeks of acute treatment.
TMS depression treatment was also tested in a trial at McGill University in Canada for TRD (treatment resistant depression) patients. The patients’ response (indicating an improvement of at least 50% in depression symptoms) and remission (HDRS-21 scores, which rate depressive symptoms, lower than 10) rates were 70.6 and 41.2%, respectively. In this study, depression, anxiety ratings and quality of life scores significantly improved as well. The study showed that TMS therapy improves depressive and anxiety symptoms in TRD patients. Furthermore, TMS treatment was not associated with serious adverse events.
1. Levkovitz Y. et al. Efficacy and safety of deep transcranial magnetic stimulation for major depression: a prospective, multi-center, randomized, controlled trial. World Psychiatry 2015; Vol.14, 64-73.
2. Harel EV, Rabany L, Deutsch L, Bloch Y, Zangen A, Levkovitz Y. H-coil repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment resistant major depressive disorder: An 18-week continuation safety and feasibility study. World J Biol Psychiatry 2014;15(4):298-306
3. Berlim MT, Van den Eynde F, Tovar-Perdomo S, Chachamovich E, Zangen A, Turecki G. Augmenting antidepressants with deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (DTMS) in treatment-resistant major depression. World J Biol Psychiatry. 2014;15(7):570-578.
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