New Treatment Options Emerging for Major Depression; Neurostimulation Therapies May Be Available for Clinical Use Within Two Years

May 21, 2005, 01:00 ET from Neuronetics, Inc.

    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
 antidepressant treatments.
     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,, or call 800-345-8707 to locate
 a research center near their home.

SOURCE Neuronetics, Inc.