depressedNearly two-thirds of patients with treatment-resistant depression achieved complete remission when treated with repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS), according to data from the first ‘real-world’ treatment audit.

The results, presented at The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ International Congress 2013, follows similar findings from major treatment centres in the US and Canada.

Six of the 10 patients in the trial achieved no anxiety or depression symptoms at the end of the treatment of rTMS, a result that Dr Rafael Euba, consultant psychiatrist at the London Psychiatry Centre, said proves the effectiveness of the treatment for those unresponsive to drugs or therapy.

Dr Euba said: "These data reinforce the body of existing worldwide evidence for rTMS and its proven ability to treat depressed patients who have not responded to drug treatment and/or therapy."

rTMS is a painless, non-invasive method of brain stimulation that relies on electromagnetic induction using an insulated coil placed over the scalp, focused on an area of the brain thought to play a role in mood regulation.

Unresponsive to antidepressants
Treatment with rTMS is licenced in the UK for adults with depression who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from two prior antidepressant medications, at or above the minimal effective dose and duration in the current episode.

About 1 in 10 people in the UK experience depression at some point in their lifetime – more than 6 million people, a number equivalent to the entire population of Scotland.

According to larger international clinical studies, 1 in 2 patients who were unresponsive to antidepressant medication experience a significant improvement in their depressive symptoms when treated with rTMS, while 1 in 3 experiences recovery.

A further 13 patients have been treated with rTMS since the audit with all of them achieving complete remission within 4 weeks. An audit of all 23 patients treated showed that 78% of the patients achieved complete remission, a further 9% improved but did not achieve remission, while 13% did not improve.

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