Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Depression Treatment

The modern level of brain research has made it possible to find the causes of many neurological and mental diseases in the violation of the circulation of nerve impulses in the cerebral cortex. Mental illness is a disturbance in the circuits of neurons. Therefore, it is necessary to change the paradigm of treatment of diseases and gradually abandon the therapy with pharmaceuticals. Moreover, their treatment is limited and accompanied by many side effects.

Stimulation of areas of the brain has long been used for diagnosis, treatment of pathological foci of excitation, leading to various diseases. Stimulation of areas of the brain reloads neural circuits, or corrects the pathways of impulse transmission. Most often, two types of brain stimulation are used: transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation.

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMC) is used in the treatment of underlying depressive disorder. In light of the paradigm shift in treatment, Australian researchers compared the cost-effectiveness of pharmacotherapy and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in depressive disorder patients with a refractory course of the disease. It has been found that rTMC is more cost-effective than drug treatment. Given that 40% of depressed patients do not respond at all to pharmacotherapy, and 85% have relapses within 15 years, it can be concluded that transcranial magnetic stimulation is a treatment that will replace pharmacotherapy. 

Treatment of depression is very expensive if it is carried out with high quality according to international standards. In the United States, the cost of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation has been compared with pill therapy and electroconvulsive therapy in the treatment of major depressive disorder. The rTMC has been found to provide a ROI of $ 35,000 per life year.

rTMS is performed 3-5 times a week for 4-6 weeks. During the procedure, there is no need to prescribe additional medications, and patients can return to their normal lifestyle immediately after the session. 

The conclusion that can be drawn based on these data indicates the beginning of the decline of the era of pharmacotherapy.

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