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ABOUT TMS THERAPY

What actually is transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS therapy?

How can it help with my depression?

 What is TMS Therapy?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a technological breakthrough in the treatment of Major Depression. Cleared for use by the FDA in October 2008, TMS is a non-invasive, non-systemic treatment that utilizes MRI strength magnetic pulses to stimulate areas of the brain known to be hypoactive in patients with depression.

TMS is an effective alternative treatment for Major Depressive Disorder and because TMS is non-systemic (not absorbed throughout the body as medications are), patients may resume their normal daily activity after treatments.

TMS is administered in our office without anesthesia and patients can continue to work, attend school, and participate in their normal daily activities during the course of treatment. Sessions last about 30 minutes and are typically given 5 days a week for 6 weeks followed by a taper period for a total of 36 treatments.

Side effects are minimal and usually only involve discomfort at the site of treatment for the first few sessions. Patients can take an over the counter analgesic such as ibuprofen or Tylenol to help with discomfort. All of our patients to date have tolerated the treatments well and without severe discomfort after the first couple of sessions.

Clinic studies show that the response rate to TMS therapy exceeds that of medication-based treatments. These studies were of patients who had not responded to multiple trials of antidepressant medications and psychotherapy.

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The evidence for the clinical efficacy of TMS in the treatment of depression is considerable, spanning more than 30 controlled clinical research studies, including NIMH sponsored studies.

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Easily tolerated. The most common side effect is mild scalp pain or discomfort.

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No anesthesia or adverse effects on memory. No change in daily activities.

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Adopted by insurers covering 216 million US lives including UBH, Aetna, Medical Mutual, Anthem, Medicare, and many others. Medicaid does not cover TMS therapy at this time. It is also possible to self-pay.

 Is TMS therapy right for me?

While the American Psychiatric Association has stated that they would consider using TMS therapy after one failed trial of a first line antidepressant medication, most insurance companies require 3-4 failed trials of antidepressant medications prior to authorizing TMS therapy. Most patients that we have worked with feel like, “I’ve tried everything and nothing is working”.

If there is a question as to whether TMS would be appropriate for you, we recommend scheduling an evaluation for TMS therapy to consider the options available to you.

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Have you tried more than three antidepressants without remission of your depressive symptoms?

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Have you been unable to tolerate your antidepressant medications?

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Currently, are you on more than one anti-depressant medication?

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Is your current medication failing to provide adequate benefit for your depression?

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Do the side effects of your medication outweigh the benefit?

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Has depression increased your doctor visits for other healthcare conditions?

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Is depression affecting your ability to function in your life including work, school, taking care of yourself or your family obligations?