TMS Therapy

How Does It Work?

 
 

NeuroStar TMS Therapy is an FDA-cleared safe and effective non-drug depression treatment for patients who are not satisfied with the results of standard drug therapy. This novel treatment option provides benefits without the side effects often associated with antidepressant medication.

Through a magnetic coil, the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system generates highly concentrated, magnetic fields which turn on and off very rapidly. These magnetic fields are the same type and strength as those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. The treatment coil is applied to the head above the left prefrontal cortex.

This part of the brain is involved with mood regulation, and therefore is the location where the magnetic fields are focused. These magnetic fields do not directly affect the whole brain; they only reach about 2-3 centimeters into the brain directly beneath the treatment coil. As these magnetic fields move into the brain, they produce very small electrical currents. These electrical currents activate cells within the brain which are thought to release neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Since depression is thought to be the result of an imbalance of these chemicals in the brain, TMS can restore that balance and, thus, relieve depression.

Neurostar® Effectiveness

Clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of NeuroStar® TMS Therapy in treating patients who have not benefited from prior antidepressant medication. NeuroStar TMS Therapy was studied in adult patients suffering from Major Depressive Disorder, all of whom had not received satisfactory improvement with previous treatments.

An Effective and Durable Option for Treating Major Depressive Disorder

In an independent, randomized, controlled trial funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, 307 patients were treated with the NeuroStar TMS System for 4 to 6 weeks, similar to real clinical context.1

Patients were divided into two groups:

  • Low Treatment Resistance: Patients who have failed to improve their depression symptoms after a single antidepressant treatment of adequate dose and duration.
  • High Treatment Resistance: Patients who have failed to improve their depression symptoms after a multiple (2-14) antidepressant treatments of adequate dose and duration.
 
 
 

At the end of their treatments, patients who had received NeuroStar TMS Therapy were four times more likely to achieve remission compared to patients receiving a sham treatment. 1 in 2 patients experienced significant improvement in their depression symptoms and 1 in 3 experienced complete remission. Patients treated with the NeuroStar TMS System also experienced significant improvement in anxiety and physical symptoms (such as appetite changes, aches and pains, and lack of energy) associated with depression.1

Durability of TMS Treatments

NeuroStar TMS is the only TMS system with the durability of its effects established over 12 months.

In a trial with physician directed standard of care, meaning Neurostar TMS Therapy could be used in conjunction with antidepressants as needed, patients who had received treatment then reported their symptom levels at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months to determine the durability of their treatments. By the end of the 12-month period, 2 out of 3 patients who had either responded or completely remitted after TMS treatment remained at the symptom levels they reported at the end of the treatment phase.1

After the end of the treatment period, only 1 in 3 patients needed to come back for maintenance TMS sessions, or 'reintroduction' during this 12-month period.1

Treatment Algorithm

Additionally, Neuronetics has developed a new tool to use in educating patients on the best practices of treating depression. The Best Practices Treatment Guideline for Depression has been developed to help patients understand TMS Therapy as an option if their first line antidepressant medications stop working. This guideline is based on the 2010 American Psychiatric Association's practice guidelines and NeuroStar TMS Therapy indication for use, which says:

NeuroStar TMS Therapy is indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder in adult patients who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medication at or above the minimal effective dose and duration in the current episode.

Please see the Treatment Algorithm for an effective illustration of the use of NeuroStar TMS Therapy early on in the treatment of depression.

NeuroStar TMS Therapy has not been studied in patients who have not received prior antidepressant treatment.