TMS is now approved for adolescent depression in ages 15 and up!

by | May 28, 2024

TMS is now approved for adolescent depression in ages 15 and up!

Early intervention is important in treating depression! Many teens may be struggling with low mood, irritability, social isolation, decreased self-worth, and even suicidal ideation. While we often think of adolescents as being too young or too resilient to be dealing with depression, nearly one in five adolescents deal with major depressive disorder, and about 5 million teens aged 12-17 y/o in the USA have had at least one major depressive episode in the prior year. Depression may seem insurmountable at times, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.   Therefore, FDA approval for effective tools such as TMS to treat adolescent depression are long overdue!

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a safe and effective, non-invasive treatment that stimulates the brain through magnetic pulses. It is like physical therapy for the brain, targeting the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex which is felt to be underactive in depression. The procedure can be done all outpatient, and side effects are minimal – they may include mild headaches or mild scalp irritation at the treatment site. TMS for depression is typically 36 sessions over about 6 weeks, with roughly 20 minutes for each session. Results have been shown to last for several months after treatment ends.

In March 2024, the FDA announced its approval of the Neurostar TMS system to treat major depressive disorder in teens. Effective results were proven based on real-world data from 1,169 adolescents undergoing TMS treatment, in addition to pre-existing published clinical trials. Data were tracked through Neurostar’s proprietary cloud system, Trakstar ®, in addition to pre-existing published clinical trials. Nearly 4 out of every 5 (78%) of the adolescents developed significant improvement in their depression with the treatments, and nearly half (48%) had complete recovery from their depression. As of May 2024, Neurostar is the first and only TMS company to receive FDA approval for treatment of adolescent depression.

The FDA first approved TMS treatment for depression in adults back in 2008, also with the Neurostar system. This was based on a randomized sham-controlled trial, double-blind, that occurred between 2004 – 2005 involving 301 patients with major depressive disorder who had not responded to prior antidepressants. They had failed a median of four antidepressant drugs already and underwent the TMS treatment for 4-6 weeks. The treatments were effective and well-tolerated with minimal side effects. The study’s results were published in 2007 by Dr. John O’Reardon et al in Biological Psychiatry.

Now that FDA clearance is secured for teens, this will hopefully expedite insurance coverage for TMS across the board with various panels.  Either way, reach out to us to learn more about coverage details!

Get In Touch With Us Today!