You may be wondering is TMS effective?
You’re in the right place because the first step towards a brighter future is awareness.
Here at Sucess TMS, we like to bring you the facts, pros and cons, reviews, research, and success rates of TMS therapy to spread the word and help you decide whether you want to give it a try.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive, in-office procedure designed to treat symptoms of major depression.
It works by generating magnetic pulses delivered to the areas of the brain that affect your mood.
These pulses stimulate the neurotransmitters that are found to be underactive in people suffering from depression.
Typically, TMS is administered to the left prefrontal cortex, as this area of your brain regulates your mood.
When you come into a Success TMS office for TMS therapy, you won’t experience any adverse side effects. In fact, you’ll be able to sit back and relax comfortably throughout the 18- to 19-minute session.
Still, you may be wondering: Is TMS effective?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation was first used in a clinical setting to study depression and other mood disorders in 1985, although TMS research, in general, dates back to the turn of the 20th century.
In 2008 the FDA approved it to treat medication-resistant depression. TMS has been carefully studied, and researchers have proven it as an effective treatment for depression and other psychiatric disorders, like OCD, PTSD, and anxiety.
The Benefits of TMS
Clinical Neurophysiology analyzed evidence from decades of clinical trials and published some of the major benefits of TMS:
TMS for Depression
TMS studies for depression looked at TMS on the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and on both sides at the same time.
High frequencies and low frequencies were also tested and compared.
Clinical Neurophysiology found a “definite antidepressant effect” of high-frequency TMS on the left side of the brain and a “probable antidepressant effect” on the right side.
Frequency didn’t play much of a role, but the majority of studies used high-frequency TMS on the left side.
A study from Biological Psychiatry performed left prefrontal TMS every day for two weeks. Researchers saw “significantly reduced depression symptoms” compared to the sham treatment.
TMS for PTSD
The research on TMS for post-traumatic stress disorder shows significant improvement in PTSD symptom scores.
The meta-analysis suggests high-frequency TMS of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex has a greater effect on PTSD than stimulating the left side.
What Are the Long-Term Benefits of TMS?
There are many stories from patients about how long TMS helps their major depressive disorder. Until recently, little research had been done to prove the long-term effects of TMS.
A 2015 placebo-controlled trial published in World Psychiatry concluded that “…dTMS is an effective and tolerable treatment for patients with MDD [major depressive disorder] who have not successfully responded to treatment with antidepressant medications.”
In fact, the more resistant the patient is to medication, the more significant the effects of TMS treatment. “…the effects appear durable” up to 16 weeks.
While 16 weeks is a significant stretch of time, TMS has been proven effective for up to a year.
Medscape Medical News reported one a study on the lasting effects of TMS.
Three-hundred seven patients with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (TRMDD) received the standard course of treatment for four to six weeks. Then they were tracked over 12 months.
There was a “statistically and clinically meaningful response and remission” at the end of treatment, and a significant number of those patients continued to experience relief from depression for a year after treatment.
This study marked the first time a broad cross-section of TMS patients were tracked for long-term effects.
The fact that so many experienced extended relief is important, especially compared to another form of electromagnetic treatment: electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Research suggests ECT treatment can cause lasting side effects, like verbal and memory loss.
Because of ECT’s high risks (especially using anesthesia), transcranial magnetic stimulation became the response. A typical TMS treatment session lasts only 18 to 19 minutes, there’s no need for anesthesia, and the side effects are mild—if any.
Are There Side Effects of TMS?
If you experience any side effects of TMS, they are usually mild and short-lived.
Memory loss is not a concern, and neither is the harsh side effects of prescription medication.
You may notice tingling in your face or jaw or mild headaches that could last an hour or two after treatment. These tend to disappear about a week into treatment.
Since its FDA approval in 2008 and so many positive studies of TMS’s outcomes, almost all insurance providers cover it as a treatment for depression.
Is TMS effective for your needs?