• Rick Trautner, MD

How Effective are Antidepressants?


How Effective Are Antidepressants?

As a practicing psychiatrist for over 30 years, I have experienced both beneficial and frustrating results with psychiatric medications. My results are consistent with STAR*D, a large multi-center study on the treatment of depression sponsored by the National Institutes of Mental Health. In this definitive study involving thousands of patients, fewer than one in three patients reached remission with their first antidepressant drug attempt. In addition, it showed that with each successive attempt, the chance of response decreases and the probability of side effects increases. As the graph below shows, by the fourth drug trial, the odds of getting to remission were less than 7%.

A Better Option—TMS Therapy

TMS therapy was cleared by the FDA in 2008 and we have been offering this treatment since 2009. As the San Francisco East Bay’s leading TMS provider, we have seen excellent results in patients who have suffered for years with both depression and anxiety. More than 80% of our patients treated with TMS therapy have a significant improvement in symptoms or have achieved remission. These are excellent results considering that this patient group includes those with moderate to very severe depression. Our TMS patients experience on average a baseline PHQ-9 depression score of 18 and baseline MADRS depression score of 31. These patients also average over 4 antidepressant medications trials.

About TMS Therapy

TMS Therapy, or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, is a breakthrough treatment for depression in which an MRI-strength magnet creates an electrical current directly in the areas of the brain affected by depression. It is performed in our office under the guidance of one of our TMS-trained physicians. Results have been excellent: more than ½ have had a significantly positive response and 1/3 of patients have achieved full remission! Fewer than 1/5 patients have failed to respond. Compared to standard medication treatment as demonstrated in the STAR*D study, these responses are truly excellent. It is extremely gratifying for us to see so many people achieve relief from their symptoms and return to their lives fully functional. Side effects are minimal, usually consisting only of some mild discomfort at the treatment site during the treatment session. The typical treatment course consists of 5 treatments per week for 4-6 weeks, for an average of 20-30 total treatments. Each treatment session lasts 20 to 40 minutes.

Benefits of TMS Therapy

  • Highly effective-More than 80% of our patients have a significant response.

  • Non-invasive-TMS does not involve any medications, anesthesia or sedation and the patient remains awake and alert throughout the treatment.

  • Non-systemic-It is a local treatment and does not affect other parts of the body.

  • Minimal side effects-TMS does not have any of the side effects commonly seen with medications such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction, tiredness, or nausea.

Who Can TMS Help?

  • Those whose antidepressants are not working to provide FULL relief of symptoms

  • Those who are on medications causing side effects that limit quality of life, such as:

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Weight gain

  • Dry mouth

  • Confused thinking

  • Pregnant or nursing females

  • Those who cannot take antidepressant medications due to intolerable side effects or underlying medical problems

About Bay TMS

We believe in providing excellent, state-of-the-art, individualized mental health care with a focus on attention to detail and your well-being. We pride ourselves in our outstanding commitment to ensuring that you have a meaningful connection with your TMS doctor and technician throughout the duration of your treatment. After your initial evaluation with your TMS doctor, you will meet with him or her every week and we will send updates to your regular doctor and psychotherapist to keep them informed about your treatment progress. In addition, we encourage you to remain actively engaged with your technician throughout each treatment session. Scientific evidence suggests that these interactions may help to alleviate depression by simultaneously activating other important brain systems.

Call our offices for more information or to schedule an appointment: 510-809-1599


#depression #TMSTherapy #mentalhealth #antidepressants

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510-809-1599    Berkeley

510-809-0160    San Rafael

415-567-6704     San Francisco / San Mateo

Bay Psychiatric Associates © 1994

TMS Berkeley: 2020 Milvia Street, 3rd Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704 | (510) 809-1599 | fax (510) 809-0468 | tmsberkeley@baypsychiatric.com

TMS San Rafael: 1330 Lincoln Ave. Suite 303 San Rafael, CA 94901 | (510) 809-0160 | fax (415) 454-8591 | tmssanrafael@baypsychiatric.com

TMS San Francisco: 2000 Van Ness Ave. Suite 405 San Francisco, CA 94109 | (415) 567-6704 | fax (415) 567-6707 | tmssf@baypsychiatric.com

TMS San Mateo: 1941 O'Farrell St. Suite 103 San Mateo, CA 94403 | (650) 393-4788 | fax (415) 567-6707 | tmssanmateo@baypsychiatric.com

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