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Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Frequently Asked Questions about TMS Treatment

Who will be involved in my treatments?

During the course of TMS treatment with us, you will have a psychiatrist who will determine your treatment routine, and a member of the TMS clinical team will guide you through the treatment.  A nurse will see you at the end of each session.  You will have an appointment with your TMS psychiatrist once each week while you are receiving TMS treatments.  You are also encouraged to attend recommended appointments with the psychiatrists, therapists, or other providers of your ongoing mental health care. 

Should I continue to take my medication while receiving TMS treatments?

During TMS therapy, you should continue to work with the physicians who manage your medications.  Patients may continue to take antidepressant medication while receiving TMS therapy if recommended by their physicians.

Do the treatments hurt or feel uncomfortable? 

In the first treatment sessions, patients may experience pain at the site of stimulation during or following treatment.  It is not uncommon to feel scalp discomfort or a headache during stimulation or afterward.  Some patients experience muscle twitching in the face and head.  These side effects are generally mild to moderate, and usually subside after the first week of treatment.  Pain is considered severe in only a very small number of cases. After the first week of treatment, patients typically do not experience any discomfort.  Adjusting device placement and settings can help manage pain at the site of stimulation.

Are there any risks or serious side effects of TMS therapy?

TMS therapy is extremely safe and well tolerated.  No side effects such as weight gain, sexual problems, stomach problems, sleepiness, or dry mouth were seen in recent clinical trials, nor were negative effects on memory or ability to concentrate noted.  The most common side effects are scalp discomfort or headache, and these usually improve with continued treatments.  Although seizures are described as a potential side effect, these are extremely rare. No seizures were reported during the most recent clinical trial.

Will insurance cover these treatments? 

Contact your insurance company to see if TMS is a covered benefit.  In most cases, insurance companies do not list TMS as a regular benefit; however, it is possible to appeal these decisions about coverage.  Many patients have been able to obtain some coverage of the treatment.  While the Department of Psychiatry will assist you with letters on your behalf to argue for coverage, we cannot guarantee how insurance providers will decide your case.