ATLANTA, May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Investigational device-based therapies
will lead to entirely new treatment options for chronic depression sufferers
as early as late 2006, according to an American Psychiatric Association
symposium to be presented this week on treatment-resistant depression.
Researchers said that developing brain stimulation techniques such as
transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), vagal nerve stimulation and deep
brain stimulation are emerging as significant treatment options for the
millions of patients "poorly served" by existing therapies. Of the 14 million
U.S. adults who suffer from a major depressive disorder each year, 7.2 million
receive treatment, of which 4 million get little to no relief from existing
therapies or are unable to tolerate antidepressant drugs.
"Despite major advances in disease awareness, delivery of care, and safer,
more tolerable pharmacologic options, the effectiveness of drug therapy for
major depression is fundamentally no better than it was two decades ago," said
Dr. Mark A. Demitrack, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of
Neuronetics, Inc. and chairman of the symposium in a presentation entitled,
"Difficult to Treat Depression: Better Choices, Better Outcomes."
"Because the social, economic, medical and personal consequences of
depression are substantial, the need for clinical study of effective new
treatments such as neurostimulation is urgent."
Demitrack called for a "more effective paradigm" for treatment-resistant
depression, incorporating a more balanced selection of treatment options, such
as neurostimulation. One such therapy, TMS, produces pulses of magnetic
energy that are directly targeted at the part of the brain believed to control
mood, with the goal of improving the function of these key brain pathways. A
clinical trial is currently underway nationwide to provide data in support of
a regulatory application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for
marketing clearance of the Neuronetics TMS System for the treatment of
"If it is proven effective, TMS would be an innovative and non-invasive
therapeutic option, especially for people who have struggled with existing
therapies," said Demitrack. "The safety of TMS is well documented in the
clinical literature. If the results of the current study show positive
antidepressant effects, and if the U.S. FDA clears the TMS technology for
marketing, physicians will have an entirely new tool to combat major
depression." The company anticipates seeking FDA approval in 2006.
Demitrack will make his remarks as part of a symposium entitled "Difficult
Depression: Looking for Our Keys Beyond the Light We Can See." Other
presentations will focus on the study of difficult depression as well as new
Neuronetics, Inc., headquartered in Malvern, PA, is a medical device
company that is focused on developing therapies for psychiatric and
neurological disorders by using the energy in magnetic fields. Individuals
who believe they may qualify for the Neuronetics TMS study can visit the
company's website, http://www.neuronetics.com, or call 800-345-8707 to locate
a research center near their home.
SOURCE Neuronetics, Inc.