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What is TMS?

Magstim® TMS Therapy involves a series of repetitive, brief, and highly focused magnetic pulses, designed to
stimulate brain cells. TMS is typically prescribed to adult patients when antidepressants have failed, or the side
effects are intolerable. In comparison to antidepressants, Magstim® TMS Therapy is a non-invasive outpatient
procedure with few known side effects1.
Magstim® TMS Therapy systems offer versatility with a range of treatment protocols including a 3-minute
treatment option.

  • Safe & Effective1
  • Few Known Side Effects
  • Non-Invasive
  • No Anesthesia
  • Outpatient Treatment
  • Covered by Insurance (including Medicare)

What to Expect and Possible Side Effects

TMS therapy is a treatment that occurs five days a week for 6 weeks. Your doctor will determine the ideal stimulation intensity (dosage) and treatment protocol.

To determine the proper dosage, your doctor will perform a mapping called a ‘motor threshold assessment’. During this process, an electromagnetic coil will be placed against a part of your head called the motor cortex. A series of single pulses at different power levels will be delivered in order to find the specific intensity (dosage) to cause your thumb to twitch. The doctor will make calculations based on the number of thumb twitches and the intensity of the pulse to determine your dosage.

For treatment, the coil will be placed on the specific treatment location determined during the motor threshold assessment. Each treatment will last between 3 and 37.5 minutes depending on the clinical protocol prescribed by your physician.

TMS is a safe and well tolerated treatment with few known side effects. Clinical studies show that the most common side effects are mild to moderate scalp discomfort and mild headaches, both of which are short term7.

Patient Education Booklet by Ascend Counseling & Wellness
7. Gaynes BN, Lloyd SW, Lux L, et al. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment-resistant depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Psychiatry. 2014;75(5):477–489

TMS & Antidepressants

TMS is typically prescribed when antidepressants have failed, or the side effects are intolerable. Antidepressants are systemic, which means that the medication is absorbed into the blood stream. This can cause numerous side effects. TMS is a noninvasive, outpatient procedure with no systemic side effects4,5.


TMS and Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) are both effective in the treatment of depression, but ECT is associated with
more side effects such as memory loss. ECT requires general anesthesia while the electric currents are passed through the
brain to induce a seizure. When given as an outpatient procedure the patient may not drive for 24 hours following ECT.

4. George, M. S., Lisanby, S. H., Avery, D., McDonald, W. M., Durkalski, V., Pavlicova, M., … & Holtzheimer, P. E. (2010). Daily left prefrontal transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy for major depressive disorder: a sham-controlled randomized trial. Archives of general psychiatry, 67(5), 507-516.
5. O’Reardon, J. P., Solvason, H. B., Janicak, P. G., Sampson, S., Isenberg, K. E., Nahas, Z., … & Demitrack, M. A. (2007). Efficacy and safety of transcranial magnetic stimulation in the acute treatment of major depression: a multisite randomized controlled trial. Biological psychiatry, 62(11), 1208-1216.
6. Rossi, S., Hallett, M., Rossini, P. M., Pascual-Leone, A., & Safety of TMS Consensus Group (2009). Safety, ethical considerations, and application guidelines for the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation in clinical practice and research. Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology, 120(12), 2008–2039. doi:10.1016/j. clinph.2009.08.016
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