Is Maintenance Needed for Patients Who Respond to Acute TMS Therapy?

May 20, 2024

Written by Joao L. de Quevedo, MD, PhD

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has emerged as a revolutionary treatment for various mental health conditions, particularly depression. Its non-invasive nature and promising results have made it a beacon of hope for many who have struggled with traditional treatments. However, as with any medical intervention, questions about the sustainability of its effects arise. One such question pertains to maintenance therapy for patients who respond positively to acute TMS treatment.

When patients exhibit a favorable response to acute TMS therapy, experiencing a reduction in depressive symptoms and an improvement in mood, the next crucial step is to consider the long-term management of their condition. While some individuals may maintain their improved state without additional intervention, others might require ongoing support to prevent relapse.

Several factors contribute to the necessity of maintenance therapy for patients who respond well to acute TMS treatment:

  1. Nature of Depression: Depression is often a chronic and recurring condition. Even if symptoms alleviate temporarily, there’s a risk of relapse over time. Maintenance therapy aims to mitigate this risk by providing ongoing support and intervention.
  2. Individual Variability: Every patient is unique, and their response to TMS therapy can vary. While some individuals may sustain the benefits of acute treatment for an extended period, others might require additional sessions or alternative maintenance therapy to preserve the improvement.
  3. Long-Term Stability: The goal of mental health treatment is not just to alleviate symptoms temporarily but to promote long-term stability and wellness. Maintenance therapy plays a crucial role in achieving this objective by offering continued support and monitoring.
  4. Risk of Relapse: Without appropriate maintenance therapy, there’s a significant risk of relapse, wherein depressive symptoms resurface and potentially worsen over time. Regular follow-up sessions or adjunctive treatments can help mitigate this risk and ensure sustained improvement.
  5. Changing Circumstances: Life circumstances, stressors, and other factors can influence mental health. Maintenance therapy allows patients to address emerging issues and adapt their treatment plans accordingly.

In conclusion, while acute TMS therapy can yield promising results in alleviating depressive symptoms, the need for maintenance therapy should not be overlooked. It’s essential to recognize that managing depression is often a long-term endeavor, and sustained improvement requires ongoing care and support. By incorporating maintenance therapy into the treatment continuum, healthcare providers can enhance the chances of long-term success and help patients achieve lasting wellness.

Remember, if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or any mental health condition, seeking professional help is crucial. Together, we can work towards a brighter and healthier tomorrow.


Is maintenance needed for patients who responded to acute TMS therapy?

Asir B, Boscutti A, Quevedo J.Braz J Psychiatry. 2023 Nov-Dec;45(6):467-469. doi: 10.47626/1516-4446-2023-0052. Epub 2023 Sep 17. PMID: 37717955