What is accelerated TMS, and how does it work? How is it different from standard, non-accelerated TMS? TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, is a pharmaceutical-free depression treatment. Using magnetic pulses to activate specific areas of your brain where low activity causes depression, TMS stimulates the brain in an effective, safe, nonconvulsive, and non-invasive way. But what makes accelerated TMS different?
Accelerated TMS is exactly what it sounds like – a quicker, more accessible alternative to standard TMS. Applying more than one TMS treatment per day, accelerated TMS shortens the duration of the treatment course from the typical 36 sessions delivered one session per day over about an 8 week period. Read on to learn more about accelerated TMS and how it can speed up your recovery:
Accelerated TMS: An Overview
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) treats depression by targeting areas of low brain activity through noninvasive magnetic pulses. An extremely effective alternative to antidepressants, TMS is ideal for patients who are not adequately helped by medication or with talk therapy. But what makes accelerated TMS different?
What Is Accelerated TMS and How effective is it?
Accelerated TMS describes a TMS regimen in which patients receive more than one TMS treatment per day, with some protocols involving up to ten treatment sessions every day for five days. By administering treatment sessions over a, accelerated TMS delivers faster relief from depressive symptoms than standard TMS. One 2010 study of an accelerated TMS protocol demonstrated an excellent safety profile with efficacy comparable to that achieved by standard daily TMS. Subsequent studies have also shown that the response rates of standard and accelerated TMS regimens are usually the same.
Accelerated TMS Protocols
There are a few potential accelerated TMS protocols. One method uses multiple daily sessions of intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS). One 2010 study that delivered 20 theta burst sessions over an 8 day period to nine patients demonstrated that five of the nine patients studied experienced at least a 50% symptom reduction in the severity of their depressive symptoms. The most noteworthy Accerlated TMS protocol is Stanford Accelerated Intelligent Neuromodulation Therapy or SAINT. SAINT is an experimental approach to Treatment-resistant depression. SAINT delivers more pulses to the brain over a shorter amount of time to treat depression symptoms. A study conducted by Dr. Nolan Williams on 21 hospitalized patients, found that by the end of the 5th day of the study 19 out of 21 patients were considered in remission.
The second most common accelerated TMS protocol uses conventional TMS (or rTMS) but increases the number of sessions from one a day to multiple sessions in one day. One 2018 study, for example, compared an accelerated rTMS protocol (that involved delivering 3 treatments per day the first week, 2 treatments the second week, and 1 treatment the final 3rd week) vs a standard four-week course of rTMS delivered one session per day. The accelerated protocol produced antidepressant effects that were similar to those seen with a standard four-week course of rTMS.
One 2018 study that compared these two protocols yielded similar clinical results with similar depression response and remission rates.
Benefits of Accelerated TMS
Accelerated TMS has the same benefits as standard TMS and the same side effects (most commonly, mild headaches at the beginning of the treatment course), The daily administration of TMS over 7-8 week period can limit its availability, especially for patients who have busy schedules, or who would need to travel a significant distance to access a treatment site. Consolidating the full course of treatments can have significant advantages and can allow TMS to be used more easily in inpatient settings (although TMS is rarely done in inpatient settings at this time). Additionally, antidepressant benefits might be seen within a few days, rather than the several weeks typically needed for a standard TMS course or the 2-3 months for the full efficacy of medications to be apparent. And because TMS can be used in conjunction with other treatments for depression, accelerated TMS can fit seamlessly into your mental healthcare regimen.
Contact Mid City TMS for Accelerated TMS Therapy
Transcranial magnetic stimulation is an effective alternative to traditional depression treatments. Eliminating the potential harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals and speeding up the long recovery timeline associated with talk therapy, TMS helps patients feel better faster. Accelerated TMS therapy maximizes this quick turnaround, making it more accessible for people who prefer or need a briefer course of treatment.
Mid City TMS offers a variety of transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment protocols, including accelerated TMS protocols, all of which are non-invasive, electromagnetic treatments for depression. To learn more about TMS and whether it could be the right treatment for you, contact us today for a free consultation.