The FDA just approved the marketing of a non-invasive device that can help people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Patients who do not respond well to conventional treatments now have another hope.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

In Aug. 17, the FDA announced its approval for the marketing of Brainsway’s Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation System specifically for the treatment of OCD. In a statement, Carlos Peña, Ph.D., M.S. of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, noted the potential of the transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in treating depression and headaches and stated that patients with OCD who have not responded to available treatments now have another option.

TMS works by using magnetic fields to stimulate the nerve cells in the brain. It was previously approved by the agency in 2008 as a treatment option for major depression and again in 2013 for the treatment of pain associated with migraines.

FDA Approval

The approval comes after the agency’s review of a study wherein 100 patients were involved, all of whom were already undergoing treatment for OCD and continued the normal dosage throughout the study. Of the participants, 49 received treatment with Brainsway’s device, while 51 received “treatment” using a non-working device.

Upon checking the participants’ score on the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale after six weeks of treatment, it was found that 38 percent of the patients responded to the Brainsway device, logging an over 30 percent reduction in their score.

Participants also did not report any serious adverse reactions, but 37.5 percent of the Brainsway patients and 35.3 percent of the patients who used the non-working device reported experiencing headaches. Other adverse reactions such as jaw pain and muscle twitching were reported to be mild or moderate and were quickly resolved shortly after the treatment.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD is a common and long-lasting disorder that is marked by the compulsion to repeat uncontrollable, recurring thoughts and behaviors over and over. It is a highly debilitating condition, and about 40 to 60 percent of patients respond only partially to treatments or do not respond at all.

Typically, OCD is treated using medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. In some cases, some patients opt for electroconvulsive therapy or even psychosurgery, wherein a surgical lesion is made in specific areas of the brain.

According to Brainsway, their OCD therapy offers a safe treatment that has many advantages over other conventional treatment methods because it is a non-invasive outpatient procedure that is generally well tolerated and has minimal side effects.

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