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Beverly Hospital offers new treatment for depression

Posted by Amanda Stonely  September 23, 2011 10:00 AM

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The following was submitted by Beverly Hospital:

(Beverly, MA) – September 22, 2011 – Antidepressants are one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the U.S., yet studies show that less than 40 percent of people with major depression achieve remission with a medication trial. Beverly Hospital now offers Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) an innovative, non-medication, non-invasive treatment for patients with major depression, specifically for patients who do not achieve symptom relief from antidepressants or who have experienced significant side effects from the medications. Beverly Hospital’s new Center for TMS Therapy is located at Beverly Hospital at Danvers and is the only health provider on the North Shore to offer this innovative breakthrough in depression treatment.

“Depression is a medical condition affecting one in ten adults. It can take a tremendous toll on the individual, their families and overall quality of life. Yet for many, antidepressants aren’t well tolerated or don’t achieve adequate benefit,” said Barry Ginsberg, M.D., chief and administrative director, department of psychiatry, Beverly Hospital. “TMS therapy has been shown to produce significant, and in some cases life changing benefits for patients with major depression.”

In Essex County, it is estimated that more than 30,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 65 suffer from major depression disorder. Of those who seek treatment, nearly 50 percent will not achieve adequate relief from medication and/or will be intolerant to medication side-effects.

“TMS Therapy is a significant breakthrough for these patients,” says Ginsberg. “It provides a reason to hope that relief from major depression can be achieved and sustained.”

TMS was approved by the FDA in 2008 as a safe and effective treatment for major depression in adults. It works by delivering focused MRI-strength magnetic pulses to stimulate the left prefrontal cortex of the brain, which increases activity in the areas believed to control mood. The patient is awake during the treatment. No sedation or anesthesia is required. The patient simply relaxes in a reclined chair and a small curved device delivering the magnetic pulses rests just above the patient’s head. TMS therapy usually involves a 37 minute session, five days a week over a period of four to six weeks. The frequency of treatment makes local access even more vital.  

Studies on the effectiveness of TMS in adult patients suffering from major depression report that fifty percent of patients improved significantly with the help of TMS and a third of patients were completely symptom-free after six weeks of treatment.

Despite widespread education around depression, (national depression screening day Oct. 6) there is a perceived stigma associated with depression and/or taking medication for it. A recent study published in the Annals of Family Medicine reports that concerns about being prescribed antidepressants and/or being referred to a psychiatrist or counselor are some of the major reasons patients have for not talking with their primary care physician about their depression symptoms.

Ginsberg encourages anyone who feels they have symptoms of depression to talk with their doctor and to take antidepressants if prescribed.

Patients who are interested in exploring TMS therapy first have a consultation with one of the TMS therapy psychiatrists to determine if they are appropriate candidates for TMS therapy. For patients who continue to suffer from depression symptoms despite being on one or more antidepressants “it is certainly worth at least the call,” says Ginsberg.

Patients interested in learning more about TMS should consult their physician or can call directly for information.  For more information, call 978-304-8671.or visit beverlyhospital.org/tms

Beverly Hospital:
Beverly Hospital is a full service, community hospital providing leading-edge, patient-centered care to North Shore and Cape Ann residents. Services include primary care, cardiovascular care, surgery, orthopedics, emergency care, maternity, pediatrics, as well as many other specialties. The hospital boasts a medical staff of more than 550 physicians and its primary service area includes 16 communities. Beverly Hospital is a member of Northeast Health System. In March 2011, Beverly Hospital was named to Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals® in the U.S. This is the sixth time Beverly Hospital has been named to the 100 Top Hospitals®.  For more information on Beverly Hospital, visit www.beverlyhospital.org .

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