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Magnetic Seizure Therapy Effective Treatment Option for MDD

Compared with electroconvulsive therapy, magnetic seizure therapy offered similar antidepressant efficacy but fewer cognitive side effects in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), according to a study published in the Annals of Clinical Psychiatry. 

The study is the first comparative effectiveness trial involving magnetic seizure therapy and electroconvulsive therapy for the treatment of MDD. The open-label investigation included 60 patients who received either electroconvulsive therapy or high-dose magnetic seizure therapy twice a week for five sessions.

The study found similar efficacy between the 30 patients who received magnetic seizure therapy and the 30 patients who received electroconvulsive therapy. Hamilton Depression Rating Scale-21 scores were an average 12.33 after magnetic seizure therapy, 12.80 after bitemporal electroconvulsive therapy, and 27.93 after right unilateral electroconvulsive therapy. 

Time to reorientation, a cognitive side effect measure, was significantly faster with magnetic seizure therapy, however. Time to reorientation averaged just 1.8 minutes among patients who received magnetic seizure therapy, compared with 18.9 minutes among the 15 patients who received right unilateral electroconvulsive therapy and 50.2 minutes among the 15 patients who received bitemporal electroconvulsive therapy. A cognitive battery also found fewer cognitive side effects with magnetic seizure therapy. 

“Magnetic seizure therapy was effective for the treatment of major depressive disorder in real-world clinical care, with fewer cognitive side effects than electroconvulsive therapy,” researchers wrote. “Future studies are warranted to replicate these findings.” —Jolynn Tumolo

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