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Shocking Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Shawn Hersevoort, MD, MPH and Rob Orman, MD
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08:27
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Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and trans-cutaneous (TMS) magnetic stimulation are important therapeutic modalities in psychiatric care.  ECT is performed in a hospital type setting and can help treat refractory mental illness, and is exceptionally useful in treating severe depression in pregnancy were medications may be contraindicated. TMS is done in an office setting and Dr. Hersevoort expects its use to expand and increase due to ease of access.

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Elizabeth N. -

Is TMS also 2-3x more effective than medication? If so, is there a potential in the future (once TMS becomes more commonplace) for turning to this treatment as a first line? Thanks!

Heidi J., MD -

Thanks for your question, Elizabeth. I've passed it along to Dr. Hersevoort and will keep you apprised of his reply.

Heidi J., MD -

Well, that was a quick reply from Dr. Hersevoort! He says that at this point, TMS is not more effective than medication, but as it improves, will likely end of being "the first of the second line agents". Hope this helps.

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