Effexor users could benefit from new magnetic treatment



A few new studies have shown that transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, might be an effective complementary treatment for those with major depressive disorder who take Effexor and other anti-depression medications.

A few new studies have shown that transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, might be an effective complementary treatment for those with major depressive disorder who take Effexor and other anti-depression medications.

What is TMS?
According to the Mayo Clinic, TMS is a new procedure - approved by the FDA in 2008 to treat depression - that uses magnets to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. During the actual procedure, an electromagnetic coil is placed on the head near the forehead and it emits electric currents that stimulate the cells involved in depression and mood.

TMS is the only noninvasive and non-systemic depression treatment approved by the FDA - it doesn't require any type of sedation.

In a July 2013 New York Times article, one adult patient, who suffered from severe bouts of depressions that began in childhood, said that after four weeks of daily 40 minute treatments, she finally felt some relief from her depression:

"I woke up and something was different," the patient said. "I felt lighter. I didn't wake up in the morning and wish I were dead."

Research
Recent research suggests that TMS could work for other patients as well. A June 2013 review of the literature by researchers at McGill University and the University of British Columbia found that, overall, TMS is an effective treatment for major depression, though more research and clinical trials need to be done to standardize the method.

Another June 2013 study by French researchers published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that using maintenance treatment of TMS was effective in lowering patients' depression relapse rates, as opposed to not offering patients additional maintenance treatment.

Overall, TMS needs more research to determine the efficacy for different populations, but the current results for treating major depressive disorder are promising.