TMS Therapy uses a magnetic pulse similar to that of an MRI and works by stimulating areas of the brain that are underactive in patients with severe depression.
TMS Therapy has been shown to produce changes in neuronal activity in regions of the brain implicated in mood regulation, such as the prefrontal cortex. As each magnetic pulse passes through the skull and into the brain, this induces brief activity of brain cells underlying the treatment coil.
Because it is not a depression drug, TMS Therapy is free from the side effects that patients often experience when they take antidepressant medication. It’s an exciting new treatment with increasing empirical evidence supporting its success with depression. Neurostar® TMS Therapy is an FDA-approved device and TMS therapy has been proven safe and effective in over 20 years of research on the treatment of depression.
CPA is the only independent outpatient mental health practice with TMS Therapy services in the city of Boston.
TMS Therapy is done on an outpatient basis by prescription only and under the supervision of a psychiatrist. During treatment, the patient is awake and seated in a comfortable chair. A device, about the size of a cupped hand, rests lightly on the head and delivers a series of targeted magnetic pulses that stimulate the part of the brain involved with regulation of mood. Treatment is typically administered five days a week for four to six weeks. Patients are awake and alert during treatments lasting approximately 37 minutes and may return to their daily routine immediately afterwards.
TMS is well-tolerated and associated with few side effects. Only a small percentage of patients discontinue treatment because of side effects. The most common side effect, which is reported in about half of patients treated with TMS, is headaches. These are mild and generally diminish over the course of the treatment. Over-the-counter pain medication can be used to treat these headaches.
About one third of patients may experience painful scalp sensations or facial twitching with TMS pulses. These too tend to diminish over the course of treatment although adjustments can be made immediately in coil positioning and stimulation settings to reduce discomfort.
The TMS machine produces a loud noise and because of this earplugs or headphones are given to the patient to use during the treatment. However, some patients may still complain of hearing problems immediately following treatment. No evidence suggests these effects are permanent if earplugs are worn during the treatment.
TMS has not been associated with many of the side effects caused by antidepressant medications, such as gastrointestinal upset, dry mouth, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, or sedation.
The most serious risk of TMS is seizures. However, the risk of a seizure is exceedingly low.
If you are a patient suffering from depression who has not had satisfactory results from standard antidepressant medication trials and therapy, TMS Therapy may be able to help.
If you agree with two or more of these statements, ask your behavioral health provider about TMS Therapy:
TMS is a covered benefit by most health plans and subject to medical necessity policies and prior authorization. After an initial consultation with our TMS certified psychiatrist, our staff will seek prior authorization approval for any clients for whom TMS is deemed clinically appropriate.
If you think TMS Therapy might be right for you, please call us or fill out our Online Intake Form.
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