Clinical repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for veterans with major depressive disorder

BACKGROUND: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a relatively new treatment modality for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of TMS for MDD in the general population. However, there is limited information regarding clinical outcomes among veterans receiving TMS for MDD.

METHODS: The clinical outcome and characteristics of all veterans with MDD who were treated with TMS as outpatients at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital from October 2013 to December 2016 were assessed.

RESULTS: Among 40 patients who received TMS, there was a significant improvement of depressive symptoms using the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology–Self-Report (45% response, 20% remission) and the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (61.9% response, 42.9% remission). In addition to significant improvement in depressive symptoms, self-report of anxiety symptoms and function significantly improved. TMS was generally well tolerated, with only a small percentage of patients discontinuing treatment due to side effects. No seizures or persistent adverse effects were observed or reported.

CONCLUSIONS: TMS is an effective and well-tolerated option for MDD in a veteran population with significant treatment resistance and multiple comorbidities.

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