New Study Offers Hope for Depression Patients Undergoing TMS Therapy

Neuronetics, Inc

MALVERN, PA — Neuronetics, Inc. (NASDAQ: STIM) has announced the publication of a groundbreaking study in the prestigious journal Brain Stimulation. The research provides new insights into the effectiveness of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in treating major depressive disorder (MDD), a condition that affects millions worldwide.

The study, drawing on data from the NeuroStar Outcomes Registry—the largest registry of its kind for depression outcomes—examined the treatment progress of 7,215 MDD patients undergoing NeuroStar TMS Therapy. It focused on whether early symptom improvement could predict the success of the full 36-session treatment course. The findings challenge previous assumptions by revealing that a lack of early symptom improvement does not necessarily predict a poor final outcome. This insight is poised to reshape treatment approaches and patient expectations regarding TMS therapy.

Cory Anderson, Senior Vice President of Research & Development and Clinical at Neuronetics, emphasized the implications of this discovery for both healthcare providers and patients. The study suggests that completing the prescribed TMS treatment course remains crucial for achieving the best possible outcomes, even when early improvement is not evident.

This research is particularly relevant for insurers and healthcare practitioners who make decisions about continuing or discontinuing treatment based on early responses. The finding that early non-improvement does not accurately forecast final non-response underlines the importance of adhering to the full treatment regimen. At the 10-session mark, the ability to predict non-responders was only 51% accurate, improving slightly to 63% accuracy after 20 sessions. These statistics highlight the premature nature of halting treatment based on initial observations alone.

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Dr. Harold Sackeim, Professor in Psychiatry and Radiology at Columbia University and the lead investigator of the study, pointed out the practical implications of these findings. He noted that if treatment had been discontinued at 30 sessions due to perceived insufficient progress, approximately 31% of patients who eventually responded to treatment would have been wrongly classified as non-responders.

The study not only underscores the complex nature of treating MDD but also reinforces the potential of TMS as a valuable therapeutic option for patients struggling with this debilitating condition. By demonstrating that slow responders can still achieve significant symptom reduction by completing their treatment course, the research offers hope to those who may not see immediate results from TMS therapy.

These findings are expected to influence clinical practice significantly, encouraging a more patient-centric approach to TMS treatment. They advocate for sustained treatment efforts, even in the absence of early improvements, potentially leading to better overall outcomes for patients with MDD.

As the mental health community continues to seek effective treatments for depression, this study contributes to the growing body of evidence supporting the benefits of TMS therapy. It highlights the necessity of a full course of treatment to unlock the therapeutic potential of TMS, offering new perspectives on patient care and treatment strategies in the battle against major depressive disorder.

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