People who suffer from major depressive disorder (MDD) may experience relief through synchronized transcranial magnetic stimulation (sTMS) therapy, according to a new study that tested the safety and efficacy of low-field magnetic stimulation using the new NEST® device on adult patients with MDD.
The findings are published in the Elsevier journal Brain Stimulation.
For the study, more than 200 participants were evaluated from 17 leading academic and private psychiatric institutions in the United States; enrollment included both treatment naïve and treatment-resistant patients as previous exposure to antidepressant medication was not a requirement for inclusion into the trial.
“The study found sTMS therapy to be significantly more effective than sham when administered as intended, supporting the hypothesis that low-field magnetic stimulation improves depressive symptoms,” said principal investigator Andrew Leuchter, M.D., professor of Psychiatry in the Semel Institute at University of California, Los Angeles.
“Additional analyses found subjects who failed to benefit from or tolerate prior antidepressant treatment in the current episode were most likely to demonstrate significant benefit from sTMS therapy compared to sham.”
When delivered accurately and consistently, sTMS therapy was successful in relieving depression symptoms in 34.2 percent of participants who had not responded to drug treatment, compared to 8.3 percent of those treated with an inactive device.
In addition, NEST® appeared safe and tolerable, with no significant differences seen between active and sham treatment in the rate or severity of negative events. There were no device-related serious adverse events in this study.
“These promising results indicate that sTMS is a promising novel technology for the treatment of depression,” said co-author Mark S. George, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Radiology and Neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina, and the Editor-in-Chief of Brain Stimulation.
“This technology is revolutionary in two ways over the current FDA-approved forms of TMS. First, this device tunes the stimulation to the patient’s own brain rhythms. By stimulating at each patient’s individual resonant frequency, sTMS may be able to achieve therapeutic success using lower energy. Second, this device is safe, easy to use, and portable, which would allow use in a wide variety of treatment settings.
“sTMS may expand the options we have for treating serious depression.”
“We are very pleased with the outcome of this trial and what it could mean for those with MDD, particularly those who have failed to achieve adequate improvement from prior antidepressant treatment,” said Kate Rumrill, president and CEO of NeoSync.