Article

Clinical significance of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in the treatment of pharmacoresistant depression: synthesis of recent data.

Neuronetics, Inc., Malvern, PA, USA.
Psychopharmacology bulletin (Impact Factor: 0.5). 02/2009; 42(2):5-38.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a novel treatment for patients with major depressive disorder. Although clearly safer and better tolerated than many other pharmacotherapeutic options or electroconvulsive therapy, questions have persisted about the magnitude of the efficacy of TMS in patients with pharmacoresistant depression, and the clinical significance of these outcomes. Previous studies have explored whether specific patient characteristics are associated with a greater likelihood of clinical benefit. In the largest such analysis conducted to date, the authors confirmed previous observations that the lower the number of prior failed antidepressant treatments, the better the clinical outcome of treatment with TMS. This relationship between prior treatment resistance and subsequent treatment outcome is consistent with previous evidence from antidepressant studies. The authors examined the clinical significance of the treatment effects seen with TMS in pharmacoresistant major depression in their recently completed studies by comparing these outcomes with the results reported in several large, comprehensive published reference datasets of antidepressant medications studied in both treatment-responsive and treatment-resistant patient populations. The efficacy of TMS demonstrated in randomized controlled trials was comparable to that of pharmaceutical antidepressants studied in similarly designed registration trials and to the adjunctive use of atypical antipsychotic medications in controlled trials of antidepressant non-responders. These data may be helpful in treatment-planning decisions when using TMS in clinical practice.

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    ABSTRACT: Background Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a safe and effective treatment for major depression. We describe quality of life (QOL) outcomes from acute treatment with TMS, and describe the durability of benefit across 24-weeks. Methods Three hundred and one medication-free patients with pharmacoresistant major depression were randomized to active or sham TMS in a 6-week controlled trial. Nonresponders to the 6-week blinded phase of the study were enrolled in a 6-week open-label study without unblinding the prior treatment assignment. Responders and partial responders to both the blinded (active or sham treatment) or open acute treatment phases were tapered off TMS over three weeks, while initiating maintenance antidepressant medication monotherapy. These subjects entered the 24-week study to examine the durability of response to TMS. The Medical Outcomes Study-36 Item Short Form (SF-36) and the Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire (Q-LES-Q) were used to measure overall function and QOL. During the 24-week durability of effect study, QOL assessments were done at study entry and at the end of 24-weeks. Results Statistically significant improvement in both functional status and QOL outcomes was observed in patients treated with active TMS compared with sham TMS during the acute phase of the randomized, sham-controlled trial. Similar benefits were observed in patients who entered the open-label extension study. These improvements were sustained across the 24-week follow up study. Conclusions Acute treatment with TMS improved functional status and QOL outcomes in patients with major depression. This clinical effect was durable in long-term follow up.
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