For the Patient
A TMS Therapy treatment session is a short outpatient procedure that lasts about 30-60 minutes. During treatment, you can relax in the treatment chair. After the procedure, you can immediately return to your normal routine, including driving.
Your first treatment session
Your psychiatrist will first perform a test to identify your motor threshold. The motor threshold is the amount of magnetic field strength that results in a movement of your right thumb. This test is important because it identifies the magnetic field strength that will be used in your treatment. This field strength is customized for each patient to deliver the correct treatment dose.
After this initial procedure, the doctor will determine the place on the head where the TMS treatment will be applied and the treatment coil will be moved to that location. This will allow you to receive optimal treatment.
The TMS Therapy will then be administered over a 30-60 minute period. In 30-second intervals, the device will deliver rapid “pulses” of the magnetic field. This will feel like tapping on your scalp. Some patients may find this tapping uncomfortable. Your physician may be able to make adjustments to reduce this discomfort.
After the procedure
Immediately following each treatment session, you may return to your normal daily routine, including driving. During or after treatment you may experience headache or discomfort at the site of stimulation. These are common side effects which often lessen as further treatment sessions are administered. If necessary, you can treat this discomfort with an over-the-counter analgesic. If these side effects persist, your doctor can temporarily reduce the strength of the magnetic field being administered in order to make treatment more comfortable.
In clinical trials, most patients who benefited from TMS Therapy experienced results by the fourth week of treatment. Some patients may experience results in less time, while others may take longer. You should discuss your depression symptoms with your physician throughout the treatment course. If symptoms persist or worsen, you should discuss this with your doctor and consider other antidepressant treatment options.
Clinical trials have proven the safety of TMS Therapy in treating depressed patients who’ve had an inadequate response to prior antidepressant medications.
Treatment with TMS Therapy caused few side effects and was generally well tolerated by patients. The most common side effects reported during clinical trials were headache and scalp pain or discomfort — generally mild to moderate and occurring less frequently after the first week of treatment.
Fewer than 5% of patients discontinued treatment with TMS Therapy due to adverse events.
What are the Benefits and Risks of TMS Therapy?
TMS Therapy has been demonstrated to be safe and tolerable.
Over 10,000 active treatments were safely performed with TMS Therapy during the clinical trials.
- No side effects such as weight gain, sexual problems, stomach problems, sleepiness, or dry mouth were seen during trials
- There were no negative effects on memory or ability to concentrate
The most commonly reported side effect related to treatment was scalp pain or discomfort during the treatment session. 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 TMS Therapy discontinued treatment due to side effects.
TMS Therapy for Major Depressive Disorder and Other Conditions
TMS has been used to treat a variety of conditions.
Efficacy in depression was established in a controlled clinical trial comparing active treatment with the TMS Therapy system to an inactive device. Patients treated with active TMS Therapy experienced an average reduction in their depression symptom score of 22.1% compared to a 9% average reduction in patients receiving inactive treatment. NeuroStar-treated patients also experienced significant improvement in anxiety, appetite changes, aches and pains, and lack of energy associated with depression.
In an open label trial, which is most like a real world clinical practice, approximately 1 out of 2 patients treated with TMS Therapy experienced significant improvement in depression symptoms. Approximately 1 out of 3 patients treated with TMS Therapy experienced complete symptom relief at the end of six weeks. As with any antidepressant treatment, patients should be monitored for symptoms of worsening depression.