About NeuroStar TMS Therapy

NeuroStar Advanced Therapy (TMS) is employed to target specific areas of the brain that are underactive in people with depression. This therapy uses transcranial magnetic stimulation and is distinct from ECT (electroconvulsive therapy).

Although the exact cause of depression is not yet fully understood, the leading scientific theory suggests that it may be due to an imbalance in the brain’s neurotransmitters – chemical messengers that transmit signals between brain cells.

What is NeuroStar Advanced Therapy (TMS)?

In a NeuroStar treatment session, a magnet that is comparable in strength to the one used in an MRI machine is utilized to stimulate nerve cells in the part of the brain believed to regulate mood. These magnetic pulses have the potential to improve neurotransmitter levels in the brain, which may enable long-term remission from depression.

Treatment with NeuroStar Advanced Therapy is easy:

  • NeuroStar therapy sessions take place in the office of a licensed NeuroStar doctor.
  • Patients can return to work right away.
  • You are awake during treatment
  • There are no negative effects on memory or sleep
  • It’s covered by most health insurance plans, including Medicare and Tricare

NeuroStar Advanced Therapy has delivered over three million treatments, providing a new ray of hope to people seeking a novel treatment approach that may lead to remission from depression.

How NeuroStar® TMS Therapy Works

A NeuroStar Advanced Therapy session typically involves the following steps:

Before Treatment

You will recline comfortably in a treatment chair and a small, curved magnetic coil will be placed gently on their head.

During Treatment

NeuroStar delivers focused magnetic stimulation directly to the specific areas of the brain that need treatment. During the session, you will experience a clicking sound and tapping sensation on your head.

After Treatment

Depending on your doctor’s recommendation, each treatment will take between 19 and 37 minutes.

You will be able to resume normal activities immediately.

Because there are no effects on alertness or memory, you will be able to drive yourself to and from treatment sessions.

In-office treatment with NeuroStar TMS Therapy typically takes 19-37 minutes and is administered 5 days a week for approximately 4-6 weeks.*

TMS Clinical Trials & Academic Studies

1. Carpenter LL, et al. (2012). Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for Major Depression: A Multisite, Naturalistic, Observational Study of Acute Treatment Outcomes in Clinical Practice. Depression and Anxiety, 29(7):587-596. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22689344

2. George MS, et al. (2010). Daily Left Prefrontal Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy for Major Depressive Disorder: A Sham-Controlled Randomized Trial. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 67(5):507-516. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20439832

3. Dunner DL, et al. (2014). A Multisite, Naturalistic, Observational Study of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for Patients with Pharmacoresistant Major Depressive Disorder: Durability of Benefit Over a 1-Year Follow-Up Period. J Clin Psychiatry. 75(12):1394-1401. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25271871

4. O’Reardon JP, et al. (2007). Efficacy and Safety of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in the Acute Treatment of Major Depression: A Multisite Randomized Controlled Trial. Biol Psychiatry, 62(11):1208-1216. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17573044

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, often referred to as TMS is a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. TMS is typically used when antidepressant medications haven’t been effective, have ceased working, or as an alternative to medication.

How does TMS work?

TMS involves delivering magnetic pulses to specific parts of the brain. How long is TMS treatment? A typical initial course of treatment is about 19-37 minutes daily over 4-6 weeks.

Does TMS hurt?

While there may be some minor discomfort at the treatment site (where the device touches your head), it generally subsides within the first week of treatment. There is no sedation, or impact on your alertness. You can read, watch TV, or talk with your treatment coordinator during your session, and you can drive home. Immediately after treatment. 

Is TMS Therapy covered by my insurance?

A vast majority of commercial and Medicare plans have recognized the effectiveness of treating depression with TMS Therapy and now cover TMS as part of their plans.

Is TMS Therapy a good alternative for patients who cannot tolerate the side effects of antidepressant medications?

TMS does not circulate in the blood throughout the body, so it does not have side effects like weight gain, sexual dysfunction, nausea, dry mouth, sedation, etc. The most common side effects reported during clinical trials were headache and scalp discomfort —generally mild to moderate—occurring less frequently after the first week of treatment.

Is TMS Therapy like other alternative therapies that use magnets to treat some illnesses?

No. TMS Therapy involves a unique method of using pulsed magnetic fields for a therapeutic benefit. The intensity of the magnetic field is similar to that of an MRI. These techniques differ radically from the popular use of low intensity, static magnetic fields. Those products deliver weak and undirected static fields that are not capable of activating brain cells. The activation and stimulation of brain cells is a key part of why TMS is so effective.

*Visit neurostar.com for indications for use and safety information.
Marla Mathisen, LCSW

Your Providers

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Shawnte' Farmer DNP, MSN, RN, PMHNP-BC

Kaitlin Hiddle, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC