There are numerous therapies and medications for depression, but very few have received FDA approval for use in adolescents. Only two medications are FDA-approved for use in adolescents. In the realities of clinical practice, multiple medications are used “off label” (not FDA-approved) for Adolescent Depression, including numerous antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotic medications.
Unfortunately, the use of such medications is often limited by either side effects or lack of response. Adolescents typically have a higher risk of medication side effects compared to adults, and can include:
- Increased suicidal ideation
- Long-term weight gain
Also, adolescents’ response to antidepressants is inconsistent.
Because of side effects and/or inconsistent responses, adolescents can experience prolonged symptoms without relief. Consequently, adolescents may have to go through multiple treatment options before finding one that might alleviate their symptoms.
To avoid situations such as these and to get adolescents relief sooner, there has been a search for new treatments, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is at the forefront of this movement.
Compared to antidepressants, TMS has very few side effects while also offering highly effective results. One in two patients treated with TMS had a 50% reduction in their symptoms, and after six weeks of treatment, one-third (33%) of patients had no symptoms of their depression or were in remission.