A recently opened clinic in Durango is now offering a new, drug-free treatment for patients suffering from depression that has just about the same success rate as prescribed medication.
“This is really becoming a popular form of treatment that, unlike medication, has no side effects,” said Daniel Caplin, a doctor of osteopathic medicine and owner/medical director of Suttle Street Clinic. “And people want holistic cures rather than depending on medication.”
Caplin, who opened Southern Rockies Addiction Treatment Services almost a year and a half ago, has now expanded to a 4,400-square-foot office at 72 Suttle St., Suite M, in Bodo Park.
The new facility, Suttle Street Clinic and TMS Durango, offers a form of treatment known as transcranial magnetic stimulation.
TMS uses highly targeted magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the brain that improve the symptoms of depression. Patients are awake and alert during treatment, which is painless, Caplin said.
Though the technology has been around since the 1980s, Caplin said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the method in 2008 for patients with major depression or when other forms of treatment have failed.
Caplin said that research has shown that 35 percent of patients treated with TMS are cured and no longer require medication. Another 35 percent see their symptoms of depression go into remission.
Caplin said his office is the only practice in Durango that offers TMS treatment, with the equipment running $100,000 a unit. He said the next closest options are in Denver and Albuquerque.
Sessions, which can be covered by insurance for depression diagnoses, last about 45 minutes and cost $200. It’s recommended, Caplin said, that patients undergo 30 sessions, with results delayed for about four to five weeks, about the same as medication.
For many who suffer from depression, TMS is another tool to fight the disorder alongside the two typically pursued forms of treatment: drugs and electroconvulsive therapy, formerly known as electroshock.
“First, far fewer side effects,” Robert Wilbur, a researcher in biological psychiatry, wrote in Truth-Out.org of the advantages of TMS. “Secondly, some studies show that it works when drugs fail.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out of 20 Americans older than 12 reported signs of depression in 2010, resulting in an economic burden estimated at $210.5 billion.
While it’s difficult to estimate the number of residents in Durango suffering from the disorder, the region’s high rate of suicide indicates that additional treatments like TMS could be a welcome tool in fighting depression.
And, Caplin said, there’s a range of other illnesses, including anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, stroke, eating disorders, addiction and autism, to name a few, that TMS can treat, but the FDA has not approved insurance coverage for those diagnoses.
“By treating the underlying psychological disorder, we can help treat things like addiction,” he said.
Caplin said the clinic has hired a TMS technician and will be ready to start taking patients next week.