About TMS Therapy

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy (TMS):

An Effective New Depression Treatment Without Medication.

 

 

What is TMS Therapy?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a technique involving a magnetic field to induce an electric current in neurons. It allows clinicians to non-invasively modulate the brain activity without any pain.

TMS was first developed in 1982 by Magstim. TMS has since been widely used in research settings with clinical trials on conditions such as depression, Parkinson’s disease, migraine, OCD, Schizophrenia, and eating disorders.

The FDA approved the clinical use of TMS the treatment of Major Depression Disorder in 2008.

The Magstim Rapid2 stimulator discharges current in a stimulating coil. That coil generates a magnetic pulse with field strength similar to that of an MRI machine. The magnetic field then creates an electrical current within the brain.

Repetitive TMS pulses are administered with the Magstim coil on the patient’s head, targeting the region of the brain which regulates decision making, working memory, and emotions. In depressed patients, that region of the brain (left Dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex) is shown to be non-responsive compared to healthy patients.

This depolarizes the neurons in that lobe, stimulating monoamine neurotransmitters and increased function of the electrical circuits that drive brain activity. An increase in brain activity increases blood flow, oxygen levels and sugar metabolism; the result is improved activity of the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine) which drastically alleviates the symptoms of depression and which provides an opportunity to achieve full remission for nearly half of the people that complete this protocol (37.5 minutes at 10 pulses/second for four seconds, 26 second intervals, 3,000 pulses total).

The initial treatment plan usually consists of 5 treatments per week over 6 week period, for an average of 30-36 total treatments. Additional treatments may be used to maintain optimal antidepressant effects. Each treatment session lasts about 40 minutes.

TMS therapy does not cause the side-effects associated with antidepressant medications. Antidepressant systemic side-effects are numerous: Anxiety, blurred vision, diarrhea/constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, headache, insomnia/drowsiness, nausea, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, and memory loss.

While TMS is only currently FDA approved for the treatment of MDD, TMS is being utilized for off-label treatment off anxiety disorders, PTSD, autism, tinnitus, chronic pain disorders, and for the treatment of addictions.

Is TMS Effective?

Here at TMS NeuroHealth NJ, we have been providing TMS services for 2 years. During this time, we have treated over 80 patients. We are currently at a 67% success rate; meaning that those beginning treatment as severely depressed (BDI score >30) end treatment no longer meeting the diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder (BDI score <13). The chart below depicts BDI scores for our first 52 patients.

Evidence-Based results WITH TMS THERAPY

  • Nearly 3 of 4 improved significantly (50% symptom reduction)
  • Nearly 1 in 2 achieved remission from Depression (free of symptoms)
  • Sustainable symptom relief for over 12 months (maintenance therapy as needed)

*Clinical study data was presented at the American Psychiatric Association’s 2013 Annual Conference. The TMS study’s investigator, Linda L. Carpenter, M.D., Professor at Brown University School of Medicine, and Chief of The Mood Disorder’s Program, Butler Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.

Is TMS Safe?

The FDA acknowledges that the Magstim Rapid2 Therapy System can be safely and effectively used for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder. It is substantially equivalent to other devices on the market. The most common side effects reported in clinical studies[i] are scalp discomfort at the treatment site and headaches. These sides effects were mild and transient and usually fade away in the first week of treatments. In a very small number of instances, there were reports of seizures. TMS showed no long-term side-effects.

What is the Procedure Like?

Patients receive treatment at a convenient, in-office setting while reclined in a  comfortable chair. There is zero wait-time for TMS patients. You are seen on time as scheduled.

The stimulating coil is placed over the patients head and emits a clicking sound when on. The patients initially feel a sharp flicking sensation where the coil is positioned. The flicking sensation attenuates after a few treatment sessions.  The stimulating coil is placed over the patients head and emits a clicking sound when on. The patients initially feel a sharp flicking sensation where the coil is positioned. The flicking sensation attenuates after a few treatment session.

Patients have the option of watching tv, reading, listening to music or a guided meditation or chatting with the technician while treatment is occurring.

Patients remain awake and alert during the administration of treatment; there is no negative effect on alertness or cognition.

Treatment is administered for 5 days per week, most often for a full 6-8 weeks, depending on the condition/prescribed protocol.

Upon completion of each treatment session, patients can resume their regular activities, including driving themselves home or moving into another treatment modality.

Most people continue with or subscribe to a variation of their existing medication regime as prescribed by their administering psychiatrist while completing TMS Therapy.

Is TMS Right For You?

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.

If you agree with two or more of these statements,

  • 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.

For patients with depression who have not benefited from antidepressant medication; TMS therapy can offer hope.

Does My Insurance Cover TMS?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is now covered by most commercial insurances.

If you are uninsured, have Medicaid, or are seeking off-label TMS therapy we offer a sliding-scale fee. Our belief is the cost of treatment should never be a deterrent for getting the help you need!

Please contact Melissa Gallia, our TMS Treatment Coordinator, to discuss your specific situation or concerns. We are here to help!

 

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