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New Depression Therapy

Dr. Philip Pan, assistant professor of psychiatry at SIU School of Medicine

A new device for treating major depression is now available in Springfield.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy or TMS is a new treatment for major depressive disorders now available at SIU School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry.  Dr. Philip Pan, assistant professor of psychiatry at SIU and director of its adult outpatient services, explains the type of individual who is likely to benefit most from the treatment.

SOUND BITE:     “Generally speaking, it is being used to treat people with treatment-resistant depression who have failed multiple trials with anti-depression medication.  The FDA indication is actually only with people with major depressive episodes who have failed one anti-depression treatment. ”

Dr. Pan says TMS therapy uses magnetic pulses, similar to those in an MRI machine, to stimulate function in targeted regions of the brain.  He describes the preparation and treatment for a patient.

SOUND BITE:    “. . .  they would get evaluated by a psychiatrist, which would be a typical psychiatric interview.  There would be some specific questions about whether they might have any metal in their head.   And then the treatment is five-days a week, usually for four to six days a weeks, about 45 minutes per session.”

Dr. Pan says most people tolerate TMS treatment with fewer side effects than medication and results may be quicker than medication, which often takes a long time to find the exact one that works best for the individual. 

Anyone who has severe depression that has not responded well to medication, and would like information about TMS, should call the SIU Department of Psychiatry at 217-545-8229 weekdays.

This is Ruth Slottag at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.