What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy for depression?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive form of brain stimulation that can be used to treat depression and other psychiatric disorders. In treating depression, TMS may be used when patients have not responded to antidepressant medications, have unacceptable side effects to medications or would prefer to try another treatment option. This treatment can be provided either on inpatient or outpatient basis.
TMS has been extensively studied for over 20 years with a large number of clinical trials confirming that it is an effective treatment.
TMS is an approved treatment for depression in multiple countries, including Australia, the United States, Canada, Israel, and the United Kingdom.
How does TMS therapy work?
TMS uses magnetic fields to activate specific areas of the brain. Repeated TMS stimulation progressively alters brain activity improving depression in some patients.
TMS sessions occur in the TMS suite at The Victoria Clinic. Treatment sessions last between 30 and 40 minutes. During this time you will be monitored by a nurse in the TMS suite. You will be sitting in a comfortable chair completely awake and alert.
For the initial course of TMS patients usually have 20 sessions of TMS over four weeks. TMS treatment is generally very well tolerated and appears to be free of major side-effects.
Who is suitable for TMS therapy?
Patients who are suitable for TMS will typically have continued symptoms of depression despite having tried two or more antidepressant medications.
There are a few things that may make a patient not suitable for TMS: the main issues are a history of epilepsy or seizures or the presence of a pacemaker or other type of implanted medical device, being pregnant or under 18 years of age.
Increasing research is also focusing on the use of TMS in other conditions. At The Victoria Clinic, in addition to depression, we provide treatment to a small number of patients with schizophrenia who have persistent auditory hallucinations (hearing voices) which have not responded to other medication treatments.
How do I access TMS?
This treatment is available for inpatients of The Victoria Clinic.
If you are interested in having TMS, your Psychiatrist can discuss with you whether this is a suitable treatment option. From there, a referral can be made to the TMS Team at The Victoria Clinic so you can be formally assessed.
If you do not have a psychiatrist or are not an inpatient, a referral from your GP requesting an initial consultation with one of our Psychiatrists could be your first step.
Please click HERE for further details on the referral process
How much does it cost?
Your psychiatrist can advise you of the best options to access Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).
Prior to commencing repeated Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) at The Victoria Clinic, all referrals undergo a review of funding options that may be available to them including private health funds, WorkCover Authority, DVA and TAC. Self-funding is also an option.
Patients and their families will be advised where possible of any out of pocket expenses.
Please call us on 03 9270 0348 to discuss any questions you may have in relation to cost.
For further information please contact our TMS Coordinator.
P: 03 9270 0349
Are the magnetic fields generated during TMS harmful?
We believe the magnetic fields generated in TMS are not harmful. Long term studies looking specifically at the effects of TMS generated magnetic fields would be helpful in confirming this.
It has been found that chronic exposure to magnetic fields even
greater than those generated during TMS appears to be safe.
Can I have more than one session of TMS per day?
This isn’t done during the initial course of TMS.
Some patients having maintenance TMS will have two sessions per day but this isn’t always the case.
How long will it take for my mood to improve with TMS?
This is quite variable. Generally patients can hope to see some improvement in their mood during the second or third week of treatment if TMS is going to work for them. For some patients, a response can be more delayed.
Can TMS be given as an outpatient?
Yes, but after each treatment patients should not drive or return to work on that day.