Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)Teenagers and adolescents are now able to be treated with transcranial magnetic stimulation for depression.

Adolescent depression is a difficult mental health disorder, not least of all because it impacts young people at such an early and critical stage in their lives. It’s estimated that 4.3 million young people in the US between the ages of 15 and 21 suffer from major depressive disorder. This depression can interfere with important developmental processes, including academic achievement, peer and family relationships, and general emotional health. Due to different life situations and needs, adolescent depression can be just as challenging to treat as adult depression, but a new stride has just been made– a major producer of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) equipment has just received FDA approval for the treatment of for the treatment of major depressive disorder in adolescents aged 15 to 21.


Neuronetics, Inc. is a medical technology company that designs, develops, and markets products to help patients with mental health disorders live better lives. Their NeuroStar Advanced Therapy is the kind that we use here at the TMS Center of the Lehigh Valley, and this recent news is the fourth FDA-approved indication for NeuroStar overall and the first for this age group. Neuronetics is a leader in the field of neuroscience worldwide, and their innovations are changing what doctors and patients expect from mental health treatments. NeuroStar is a noninvasive, non-drug treatment that can help people for whom traditional treatment methods, like antidepressants, have been less than effective. It’s recommended for the treatment of depressive episodes and anxiety symptoms in adult patients with both major depressive disorder and comorbid anxiety symptoms. Additionally, it has FDA approval for use treating adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder. With more than 6.1 million treatments administered, NeuroStar Advanced Therapy is the most popular TMS treatment for major depressive disorder in adults.


“The prevalence of depression in adolescents and young adults has been accelerating since the COVID-19 pandemic. The current treatment options available for adolescents are extremely limited, compared to those available for adults,” according to Dr. Kenneth Pages, Medical Director of TMS of South Tampa. “NeuroStar’s TMS therapy now offers a promising first-line treatment for adolescents, backed by real-world data and impressive response rates consistent with response rates for adults. This advancement has the potential to set a new treatment paradigm for how we address depression in our youth.”


The FDA’s decision to approve this treatment method as an adjunct for adolescent depression was partially based on an analysis of real-world data, obtained using NeuroStar’s own TrakStar technology. 78% of the 1,169 teenagers whose severity of depression was analyzed saw a clinically significant improvement.


After reviewing the extensive data set from TrakStar and clinical data from the published literature, the FDA determined that NeuroStar TMS was significantly more safe and effective when used as an adjunct to antidepressant therapy than antidepressant therapy alone for people in this age group.


“Receiving FDA-clearance to treat the adolescent segment aged 15 and up is a treatment solution that is long overdue in the mental health industry,” said Keith J. Sullivan, President and CEO of Neuronetics. “We are excited to offer NeuroStar TMS therapy as a new option for young people and for their concerned parents who have struggled to find a treatment they can be confident in. As a company, we will be focused on driving even more awareness and education about NeuroStar given that this new clearance grows our total addressable market in MDD by 35%.”


These days, depression is unfortunately all too common for teenagers and young adults to experience, but treatment options like this make it possible for people of all ages to fight back and reclaim their lives! If you or someone in your life is struggling with depression, our TMS therapy here at TMS Center of the Lehigh Valley might be the missing piece you need. Contact us today to learn more.