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Answers to some of the most common questions about TMS

What is TMS?

TMS stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation. It is an FDA-approved treatment for Major Depression that is effective, safe, non-invasive, and drug-free. The treatment involves short electromagnetic pulses, similar in strength to those in MRI machines, being targeted to the area of the brain known to be underactive in depression. During a standard TMS treatment, thousands of these pulses are delivered at intervals across a 30-minute session while the patient is awake and alert. Treatments are generally delivered five days a week over a period of 6-8 weeks.

Is TMS safe?

Upon FDA approval over a decade ago, many clinical trials and years of clinical experience have shown TMS to be extremely safe with few side effects. The most common side effect is mild scalp discomfort during the treatment, which is experienced as a light tapping sensation on the head. This is temporary and goes away. Mild headaches or fatigue can also sometimes occur. There are none of the typical side effects of drug treatments, as TMS does not involve drugs.

How much does it cost?

Cost will vary depending on your insurance provider. TMS is now covered by most insurance companies, so check with your insurance provider to see if TMS can be covered.

Do I need to be at the hospital?

No, you do not need to be in a hospital to receive TMS therapy. You can visit the clinic for your treatment, and resume your ordinary daily activities afterwards.

Are there side effects?

As stated, the most commonly reported side effect related to treatment is mild scalp discomfort. This side effect is temporary and lessens in frequency after the first week of treatment. Mild fatigue or headaches might also occur. Less than 5% of patients treated with NeuroStar TMS Therapy have discontinued treatment due to side effects. There is a small risk of a seizure during treatment which occurs in less than 1 in 30,000 treatments. However, this risk is actually less than what has been observed with most antidepressant medications.

Is TMS painful?

No. With minimal side effects, TMS therapy can cause only slight discomfort at the beginning of treatment. Generally this subsides after several treatment sessions.

Can I also take antidepressants if I am receiving TMS therapy?

Yes. In clinical trials and real patient experiences, TMS Therapy has been safely administered with and without other antidepressant medications.

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