Introducing TMS Therapy
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy is a new treatment cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients suffering from depression who have not achieved satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant treatment.*
TMS Therapy is a treatment that can be performed in a psychiatrist’s office using a medical device called the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system.
NeuroStar TMS Therapy is:
- Non-invasive, meaning that it does not involve surgery and does not require anesthesia or sedation; the patient remains awake and alert during treatment.
- Non-systemic, meaning that it is not taken by mouth and does not circulate in the blood stream throughout the body.
The initial course of treatment typically consists of 5 treatments per week over a 4-6 week period, for an average of 20-30 total treatments. Each treatment session lasts approximately 40 minutes. During treatment, the patient is wide awake in a comfortable chair. A small, curved device, about the size of a cupped hand, rests lightly on the patient’s head, delivering focused magnetic stimulation directly to the area of the brain thought to be involved in regulating mood. The magnetic field impulses of NeuroStar TMS Therapy are the same strength as those used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.
TMS Therapy is:
- Safe, with over 20 years of research behind it;
- Proven — in open-label clinical trials, 1 in 2 patients suffering from depression reported significant improvement; 1 in 3 patients were completely free of depression symptoms after six weeks of treatment;
- Targeted, stimulating only the part of the brain thought to be involved in regulating mood;
- Easy on the body, with no medication required and none of the systemic side effects commonly associated with antidepressants — the most common side effect of TMS is a generally mild to moderate scalp discomfort.
*NeuroStar TMS Therapy is indicated for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder in adult patients who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from one prior antidepressant medication at or above the minimal effective dose and duration in the current episode. Per insurance guidelines for covering TMS treatments; patients must have tried at least four prior antidepressant medication trials which failed to achieve satisfactory improvement. It’s effectiveness has not been established in patients who have failed to receive benefit from two or more prior antidepressant medications at minimal dose and duration; it has not been studied in patients without prior antidepressant medication treatment. It should not be used (is contraindicated) in patients with implanted metallic devices or non-removable metallic objects in or around the head.
For more information, please call UNC Psychiatry at (984) 974-3854.
You can also visit the official Neurostar TMS Therapy website.