8 doctors weighed in:
What are risks of tms to treat depression?
8 doctors weighed in

Dr. James Fox
Psychiatry
4 doctors agree
In brief: Safe, effective
Research seems to indicate that tms is as effective as anti-depressants for treatment of depression.
The most common side effect is headache and mild-moderate scalp pain at the site of the treatment. Muscle twitching during the treatment may occur but this is transient and only occurs during active treatment. Seizures are a risk, but very rare.

In brief: Safe, effective
Research seems to indicate that tms is as effective as anti-depressants for treatment of depression.
The most common side effect is headache and mild-moderate scalp pain at the site of the treatment. Muscle twitching during the treatment may occur but this is transient and only occurs during active treatment. Seizures are a risk, but very rare.
Dr. James Fox
Dr. James Fox
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2 comments
Dr. Kira Stein
The TMS seizure risk is indeed very low (0.003% per treatment or 0.1% per TMS patient) and is comparable or better than the seizure risk associated with some antidepressant drugs, such as tricyclic antidepressants (0.4% - 2%), fluoxetine (0.1%), or buproprion SR (0.1%).
Dr. Louis Cady
Risks - not much. I absolutely agree with Dr. Kira Stein's review of "seizure risk" - which is actually lower than antidepressant drug therapy. There really aren't any other risks, save the possibility that it would not be effective. The good news is that current studies suggest that it will work when no other medicaiton or combination of medications has worked. In our practice at Cady Wellness, we have also had three patients, all of whom had had electroconvulsive therapy, that responded beautifully. One got significantly better, and two are totally remitted from their depression. TMS does not seem to work as RAPIDLY as ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), but some studies suggest that if you wait long enough, the net result will be the same. We are seeing remission from depression in our program anywhere from 1 - 2 we weeks into treatment all the way out out two weeks to two months after the treatments are concluded. Hope this helps.
Dr. Marsha Davis
Internal Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Ineffectiveness
It is an fda approved treaent for persons who have failed antidepressant therapy.
It is not used very much because it does not seem to work. It is non- invasive and safe.

In brief: Ineffectiveness
It is an fda approved treaent for persons who have failed antidepressant therapy.
It is not used very much because it does not seem to work. It is non- invasive and safe.
Dr. Marsha Davis
Dr. Marsha Davis
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3 comments
Dr. Kira Stein
As a psychotherapist, psychopharmacologist and a TMS expert who practices all modalities daily, I totally disagree. TMS is very effective, as metanalyses of the last few years of research will show. The most updated protocols for TMS for depression demonstrate a very strong effect size. If you look at older studies, you will find weaker results, but current clinical use of TMS can be quite effective. Research shows that, when used without medication, TMS is as effective as a first drug trial and more effective than a second trial of antidepressant medication. When TMS is used as an add-on to medication, we are seeing response and remission rates that are much higher than medication treatment alone.
Dr. Marsha Davis
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