Safety and Side Effects of TMS Therapy

Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States in people aged 15 to 44 years. When first-line approaches to depression, like antidepressant medications and psychotherapy, are not effective, the condition is called treatment-resistant depression.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy offers hope for those who have treatment-resistant depression. Many people do not get measurable relief from first-line treatments. In the past, the only other treatment available was electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or shock therapy.

NeuroStar TMS therapy can relieve symptoms and restore your life. Before making the decision, reach out to learn about the safety and side effects of TMS therapy and whether this therapy is the right decision for you.

How Does TMS Therapy Work?

To fully understand the safety and side effects of TMS therapy, it is important to have a brief understanding of how it works. Transcranial magnetic stimulation uses a magnetic coil to deliver electromagnetic pulses to your brain, directed at the area that controls mood disorders, such as depression.

These electromagnetic pulses are similar to those used for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). During your session, a padded coil is placed against your head, which delivers a prescribed amount of electromagnetic pulses targeted to a specific area.

These pulses stimulate neurological activity believed to not be as active as it should be. The stimulation can help your brain form new connections and reduce or eliminate the symptoms of depression.

How Safe is NeuroStar TMS Therapy?

NeuroStar TMS therapy has proven to be both safe and effective. The treatment has been FDA-cleared for treatment-resistant depression, depression-related anxiety, and as an adjunctive therapy for obsessive-compulsive (OCD) treatment.

While NeuroStar TMS is safe for most people, it is not the best choice for everyone. Because the treatment uses electromagnetic pulses, people who have ferromagnetic compounds in and around their head and neck should not use NeuroStar TMS. For example, this would include cochlear implants, pacemakers, bullet fragments, and tattoos using ferromagnetic ink. Since NeuroStar TMS delivers electromagnetic pulses to targeted areas of the brain, it is not advised to use this treatment with people who have a seizure disorder, a head injury, or other neurological conditions that may increase the risk of producing a seizure.

What Are the Potential Side Effects?

Most potential side effects show up in the first week of therapy and are not present in the subsequent weeks. A NeuroStar TMS treatment cycle requires one therapy session per day that lasts approximately 20 minutes. These treatments are delivered five days a week for seven weeks to complete a full treatment cycle.

During the first week, some people report tingling, warmth, or discomfort in the area where the magnetic coil is placed on their head. You may experience a transient headache or toothache. There is a rare risk of seizures.

Some people report mild scalp discomfort or muscle twitching. There are potentially significant side effects if TMS therapy is used in patients who have non-removable ferromagnetic conductive metal implants in or near the head.

Call Today to Schedule a Consultation to Discuss the Safety and Side Effects of TMS Therapy

NeuroStar TMS therapy is the No. 1 recommended TMS therapy by physicians for the treatment of depression. We encourage you to call today to schedule a consultation to discuss the safety and side effects of TMS therapy with our skilled and experienced physician. We will answer your questions and be sure you have the necessary information to make your treatment decision.