What is TMS therapy?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a painless, non-invasive brain stimulation therapy used to treat depression. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of depression when antidepressant medication or psychotherapy has been unsuccessful.
What are the different types of TMS therapy available?
There are two different types of TMS therapy currently available. They include:
When is TMS therapy used?
Although depression is very treatable, sometimes traditional treatments may not be effective for all. When psychotherapy and pharmaceutical medications fail, TMS therapy may be considered.
What else should you know about TMS therapy?
TMS therapy can be used in conjunction with psychotherapy. However, there is currently no research that confirms combination therapy is more beneficial than stand-alone TMS therapy for the treatment of depression.
Is TMS therapy successful?
TMS therapy has shown great success in the treatment of major depression, with 60% of patients showing improvement.
What other conditions can TMS therapy treat?
Although approved by the FDA for major depression, TMS has also been shown to be beneficial with other conditions such as:
Mechanism of action
How does TMS therapy work?
The technology around TMS is that it uses repetitive electrical impulses to stimulate nerve cells- also referred to as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). The electrical impulses go through the scalp, and no anesthesia is required. Although approved for depression, TMS can also help treat post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and Parkinson's disease.
How is TMS therapy administered?
TMS therapy is administered by having an electromagnetic coil placed on the scalp, where the brain regulates mood. It is recommended that TMS therapy is provided 4-5 times a week for at least 4-6 weeks to get the best results. Typical sessions last about 40 minutes; however, a newly FDA-approved TMS therapy called theta-burst stimulation only requires 10 minutes of treatment for depression. It has even shorter treatment times for other mental illnesses. This faster treatment option still requires several weeks of treatment to be effective.
Where can you receive TMS therapy?
TMS therapy is performed on an outpatient basis. There are no restrictions for this therapy and patients can drive themselves to and from their appointments for administration.
How long does TMS therapy last?
With TMS therapy, many people experience a decrease in depression, or the symptoms may go away altogether. It usually takes a few weeks before improvement is noticeable, but some research has shown that it may last for as long as a year. Remission is always a possibility- as with most mental health illnesses. There is still ongoing research regarding if maintenance treatments are needed to prevent depression from recurring after successful TMS therapy. However, if symptoms return, retreatment can always be administered.
Candidates for TMS therapy
Who should use TMS therapy?
Currently, TMS therapy is recommended when first-line treatments for depression or other mental illnesses fail.
Who should avoid using TMS therapy?
TMS therapy has many benefits but may not be suitable for the following patients:
Is TMS therapy safe?
What are the potential side effects of TMS therapy?
TMS therapy is well tolerated and relatively safe. Still, it does pose some potential side effects that should be addressed. Some common side effects include:
Less common side effects include:
How much does TMS therapy cost?
TMS therapy may be an expensive form of treatment for most people. The average cost of a TMS session is $500. This means the complete treatment for at least the 30 sessions that are recommended would run about $15,000.
Does insurance cover TMS therapy?
Most insurances cover TMS therapy when a licensed healthcare professional states it is a medical necessity. Therefore, TMS therapy is usually pretty affordable due to insurance coverage. Our trained staff at TeleMed2U are very familiar with what is needed to have this therapy approved by your insurance provider. Receiving the appropriate treatment and not having to stress about medical coverage or costs is always our goal.
Are you or someone you know struggling to get relief from your depression symptoms? Then you may benefit from TMS therapy. The benefits of starting this medication include relief of symptoms, possibly for an extended amount of time. Speaking with a healthcare provider at TeleMed2U may be the first step in learning if this safe, FDA approved treatment may work for you.