What is TMS?

TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) Therapy is an FDA-cleared safe and effective non-drug depression treatment for patients who are not satisfied with the results of standard drug therapy. This novel treatment option provides benefits without the side effects often associated with antidepressant medication.

How does TMS Therapy work?

TMS uses precisely targeted magnetic pulses to stimulate key areas of the brain that are underactive in patients with depression. The technology is similar to what is used in an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine and sessions are conducted right in the doctor’s office.

How long is a TMS Session?

TMS treatment is done in 20 minute sessions, 5 days a week for 4-6 weeks. Patients should receive treatment for a minimum of 4 weeks with additional treatments based on clinical judgment.

  • Patients are awake and alert during treatment
  • Patients can go back to their normal activities immediately after treatment
What will I experience during a TMS session?

Step 1: The patient reclines comfortably in the treatment chair, awake and alert

Step 2: A small curved device containing the magnetic coil rests lightly on the patient’s head

Step 3: The device delivers focused magnetic stimulation directly to the target areas of the brain

Step 4: The patient can immediately resume normal activities

During treatment, the patient hears a clicking sound and feels a slight tapping sensation on the head. The most common side effect is generally mild-to-moderate pain or discomfort at or near the treatment area during the session. When this occurs it is temporary, and typically occurs only during the first week of treatment.

There are no effects on alertness or understanding; patients being treated with NeuroStar TMS Therapy can drive themselves to and from their treatment sessions.

Do I need to be hospitalized for a session of TMS Therapy?

No. TMS Therapy is an outpatient procedure conducted at our Los Alamitos and Costa Mesa locations. After your treatment you can continue your normal daily activities.

Is TMS Therapy a good alternative for patients who cannot tolerate the side effects associated with antidepressant medications?

Differences in safety and tolerability between TMS Therapy and antidepressant treatment are important considerations.

  • TMS is non-systemic, meaning that instead of putting chemicals throughout the whole body, only the affected area is treated. TMS does not cause side effects such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction, nausea, dry mouth, and sedation, all of which are side effects associated with antidepressant treatment.
  • The most common adverse event related to TMS treatment is slight scalp pain or discomfort at the treatment area during active TMS treatment. These effects are transient and mild to moderate in severity and the incidence of this side effect declines markedly after the first week of treatment.
Can I take antidepressant(s) if I am receiving TMS Therapy?

Yes. In clinical trials, TMS Therapy was safely administered with and without other antidepressant medications.

Is TMS Therapy right for me?

If you are a patient suffering from depression who has not had satisfactory results from standard antidepressant medication, TMS Therapy may be able to help. This novel alternative depression treatment is not a drug, so it does not circulate throughout the body and does not have the side effects that are associated with drug therapy.

If you agree with two or more of these statements, call us at TMS Health and Wellness today at 855-867-5551 to speak with one of our qualified technicians:

  • Depression symptoms have interfered with my daily life.
  • I am not satisfied with the results I get from depression medication.
  • I have had, or have worried about, side effects from depression medications.
  • I have switched medications for depression due to side effects.
  • I am interested in a proven, non-drug therapy for depression.

TMS Therapy may not be right for everyone, so contact us to learn more about how this proven alternative depression treatment has helped other people with their depression, and whether it may help you or your loved one.

What are the potential risks/side effects of TMS Therapy?

TMS Therapy is well tolerated and has been proven to be safe in clinical trials. Throughout more than 10,000 active treatments performed in clinical trials, the most commonly reported side effect related to treatment was scalp discomfort during treatment sessions. This side effect was generally mild to moderate, and occurred less frequently after the first week of treatment. Less than 5% of patients treated with NeuroStar TMS Therapy discontinued treatment due to side effects.

In NeuroStar clinical trials, over 10,000 TMS treatments demonstrated its safety, with no occurrence of seizures. However, there is a small risk of a seizure occurring during treatment. This risk is no greater than what has been observed with oral antidepressant medications. While NeuroStar TMS Therapy has been proven effective, not all patients will benefit from it. As in any treatment for depression, patients should be carefully monitored for worsening symptoms, signs or symptoms of suicidal behavior, and/or unusual behavior. Families and caregivers should also be aware of the need to observe patients and notify their treatment provider if symptoms worsen.

How is TMS different from ECT (electroconvulsive therapy or “shock therapy”)?

TMS does not require hospitalization, anesthesia, or IV medications.

TMS does not cause memory loss which is often experienced with ECT.

What is the history of TMS Therapy?

First used in 1985, TMS has been used by researchers around the world to help understand the functions of different parts of the brain. Several hundred manuscripts have been published regarding its use in stimulating select regions of the brain.

Since the mid 1990s, TMS has been studied as an antidepressant therapy.

In 2006, the largest randomized, controlled study ever conducted with TMS Therapy was completed. This study was sponsored by Neuronetics and utilized the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system. The NeuroStar TMS Therapy system was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of adult patients with major depressive disorder who have failed to receive satisfactory improvement from prior medication antidepressant treatment.

Will TMS Therapy be covered by my insurance?

TMS Therapy is now covered by many insurance companies around the country. Companies that are currently covering TMS Therapy include Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Cigna, United, Humana, Magellan and Optum amongst others. TMS Health and Wellness are here to assist you in seeking approval from your insurance provider so you can get started with treatment as soon as possible.