Adding TMS is better than Adding or Switching Medications

Adding TMS is better than Adding or Switching Medications

In a recent article published in Nature magazine, researchers showed that adding Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) resulted in improved outcomes for patients suffering with major depressive disorder. These authors attempted to replicate the largest study ever completed in psychiatry, STAR*D, by taking patients who had failed one antidepressant and then randomizing them to three separate groups.  The first group included patients who stayed on their antidepressant and had the medication aripiprazole (Abilify) added, the second group included patients who stayed on their antidepressant and had the treatment transcranial magnetic stimulation added to their care, The third group had patients who switched to another antidepressant.  The group of patients that stayed on their medicine but had TMS added had significantly better outcomes.  Our group found this particularly comforting as this is what we have noticed in our clinical practice and is the way that we recommend that patients be treated. Many insurance companies do not let patients receive TMS after one medicine fails even though this is the way that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared TMS. Most patients have to fail two or more antidepressants before they can get their insurance company to cover TMS.  Hopefully this new research will reinforce to insurance companies why they should cover TMS for major depressive disorder earlier in the course of care.  If antidepressants are just not getting you into remission, reach out to our office for a consultation.  We look forward to helping you.

At the NeuroScience & TMS Treatment Center, we have several treatment options we can use, beyond common medications and therapy, to aggressively treat you for brain diseases. Learn more about our treatments and services on our Comprehensive Behavioral Health Page

Blog Post Authors 

Michelle Cochran, MD, DFAPA

Founder & Chief Medical Officer • Medical Director, Nashville Locations

Dr. Cochran has been living and working in the Nashville area for over 25 years. She supervises the skilled Nurse Practitioners who work in our clinics. She has been offering TMS services since 2011 and lectures and consults nationally and internationally about TMS. She is Board Certified and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Learn more about Dr. Cochran.


Jonathan Becker, DO

Medical Director, Brentwood Locations

Dr. Becker is a native of Tennessee, born in Memphis. He completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees in Developmental Psychology at Tulane University in New Orleans before attending Des Moines University for Medical School. He completed his psychiatry residency program at Vanderbilt University and served as a faculty member there for 7 years before transitioning to our office. While at Vanderbilt, Dr. Becker served as the medical director of the neuromodulation service from 2017-2020. Dr. Becker has also published many psychiatric articles. Learn more about Dr. Becker.

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