If you have suffered from depression or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder TMS may be an alternative noninvasive treatment for you. TMS is a less powerful treatment than ECT, but a series of near-daily TMS sessions over several weeks is helpful for at least half the people who complete a full series. For more information about brain stimulation therapies, visit www.nimh.nih.gov
Recently, rTMS has received FDA approval for the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) uses a magnet to activate the brain. First developed in 1985,
rTMS can be targeted to a specific site in the brain.
rTMS was approved for use by the FDA as a treatment for major depression.
Evidence supporting rTMS for depression funded by NIMH, was published in 2010. The trial found that 14% achieved remission with rTMS compared to 5% with an inactive (sham) treatment. After the trial ended, patients could enter a second phase in which everyone, including those who previously received the sham treatment, was given rTMS. Remission rates during the second phase climbed to nearly 30%. A sham treatment is like a placebo, but instead of being an inactive pill, it’s an inactive procedure that mimics real rTMS.
HOW IT WORKS
A typical rTMS session lasts 30 minutes
During the procedure:
Side Effects: Sometimes a person may have discomfort at the site on the head where the magnet is placed. The muscles of the scalp, jaw or face may contract or tingle during the procedure. Mild headaches or brief lightheadedness may result. It is also possible that the procedure could cause a seizure, although documented incidences of this are uncommon. Two large-scale studies on the safety of rTMS found that most side effects, such as headaches or scalp discomfort, were mild or moderate, and no seizures occurred.