TMS is an FDA approved treatment that uses technology similar to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). There are now numerous published studies that have consistently shown that TMS is a safe treatment with exposure to magnetic fields no more than 1/30th the strength of an MRI scan.
Treatments are well-tolerated by most people. The most common side effects are scalp pain during the treatment and mild headache during or after treatment. Patients report these effects to be mild to moderate and typically go away after the first few treatments as your body adjusts to the procedure.
TMS is often better tolerated than psychiatric medications, which have a long list of potential side effects including:
Sexual Side Effects
Constipation or diarrhea
TMS is much better tolerated than ECT (ElectroConvulsive Therapy or "shock treatment"). TMS is administered in the office and you can return to your regular activities, including driving, immediately after each treatment session. ECT requires the use of general anesthesia with all the associated risks, and is often given in the inpatient setting. If administered as an outpatient, you must have someone with you to drive you home after an ECT procedure. ECT may also cause other side effects including memory impairment during the course of treatment, and a potential degree of permanent memory loss.
There have been reports of seizure during the administration of TMS. The risk of seizure is very low (less than 0.1%), but there are factors that can increase your risk such as pre-existing seizure disorder, sleep deprivation, history of head injury, the use of some medications and drugs or alcohol. It is important to tell your doctor about all substance use, alcohol consumption, and medications including prescriptions, over-the-counter, and herbs and supplements so we can determine and discuss your individual risk. Despite its excellent safety record, TMS is not for everyone. Those with the following are not able to receive TMS:
Implanted electronic or metallic devices activated or controlled in any way by physiological signals (deep brain stimulators, cochlear implants, vagus nerve stimulators, cardioversion defibrillators, pacemakers)
Non-removable metallic objects in or around the head (some tattoos and permanent eye liner have metallic components in the dyes used)
Metallic fillings and metal involved in dental work does not generally impact the ability to receive treatment.
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