Doc. uses nerve stimulation to help with de-addiction

HYDERABAD: Neuromodulation treatment, a non-invasive treatment of nerve activity in the brain, could prove significant in helping tobacco users forgo their addiction, according to a senior city-based psychiatrist.

Having introduced this first-of-its-kind (in the country) treatment to the city around nine months ago, Dr M.S. Reddy said that 60 patients have been treated so far, of whom 27 have stopped smoking, while the rest have cut down on tobacco use significantly.

Dr Reddy, who is the director of Asha Neuromodulation Clinic, said: “In terms of de-addiction, we usually talk about alcohol and drugs, whereas tobacco de-addiction doesn’t come into a formulated, systematic form. There is no formal treatment for chain smokers, beyond some medicines and counselling. A new technology of neuromodulation has come up in psychiatry, which is a kind of brain stimulation and non-invasive called the deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which is FDA approved.”

“Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation delivers electrical stimulant to deeper areas of the brain through a specific electrode in the form of a helmet. The treatment is for a duration of three months, with intensive sessions in the first three days and follow-up sessions in the next two months. An electrode, in the form of a helmet, is used,” he said.

Dr Reddy said that before treatment, patients are assessed and counselled, with their blood tested to record the amount of nicotine in it, carbon monoxide in breath and level of pulmonary functions.

“After the counselling, the patient is put on deep transcranial magnetic stimulation for three days, with six 10-minute sessions every day. A total of 18 sessions are done along with the counselling sessions. Then the patient is put on Varenicline tablets for a three-month course,” Dr Reddy said.

After the initial three days, the patient is advised to visit after a month, and an assessment is done again to track the progress. “Depending on the assessment, two more sessions of TMS for one day, called maintenance sessions, are given to the patient, followed by the Varenicline dosage,” he said.

Dr Reddy said that nicotine gums and patches are given to patients who report cravings during the course of treatment.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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