13 doctors weighed in:
Is the method of transcranial magnetic stimulation any good in treating depression?
13 doctors weighed in

Dr. Byron Law-Yone
Psychiatry
6 doctors agree
In brief: Looks promising
Refractory depression is often hard to treat.
Tms offers a safe but expensive treatment which can be offered following failure to just one antidepressant. The treatments are usually 5 days a week and go on for 4-5 weeks in the parts of dallas I am familiar with.I wish insurance would cover this more often.

In brief: Looks promising
Refractory depression is often hard to treat.
Tms offers a safe but expensive treatment which can be offered following failure to just one antidepressant. The treatments are usually 5 days a week and go on for 4-5 weeks in the parts of dallas I am familiar with.I wish insurance would cover this more often.
Dr. Byron Law-Yone
Dr. Byron Law-Yone
Thank
1 comment
Dr. Kira Stein
As TMS and its benefits are becoming more widely known, more & more insurance companies are providing up-front coverage. Anthem Blue Cross, for example, offers coverage for treatment resistant depression in California, New York, Connecticut, Ohio, and other states. MediCare has a policy for TMS in the North East. Some health insurance companies, however, still don't have an established TMS policy, and are more likely to reimburse claims submitted by patients on appeal, instead of up-front or on initial review. This is typical for new and innovative therapies such as TMS.
Dr. Louis Cady
Psychiatry
3 doctors agree
In brief: Yes
Yes. I believe, particularly after seeing it in our patients, that it is the most potent, best tolerated procedure.
In my estimation, it is as effective as electroconvulsive therapy.... You just have to wait a few weeks to a few months after treatment is concluded. It is not as fast, but is remarkably better tolerated with no memory loss. It is also more potent than medications.

In brief: Yes
Yes. I believe, particularly after seeing it in our patients, that it is the most potent, best tolerated procedure.
In my estimation, it is as effective as electroconvulsive therapy.... You just have to wait a few weeks to a few months after treatment is concluded. It is not as fast, but is remarkably better tolerated with no memory loss. It is also more potent than medications.
Dr. Louis Cady
Dr. Louis Cady
Thank
Dr. Lawrence Smith
Clinical Psychology
3 doctors agree
In brief: Mixed results
According to a nimh review, clinical trials studying the effectiveness of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rtms) have had mixed results.
Some studies have found that rtms is more effective in treating patients with major depression. But, other studies have found no difference in response to rtms compared to inactive treatment.

In brief: Mixed results
According to a nimh review, clinical trials studying the effectiveness of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rtms) have had mixed results.
Some studies have found that rtms is more effective in treating patients with major depression. But, other studies have found no difference in response to rtms compared to inactive treatment.
Dr. Lawrence Smith
Dr. Lawrence Smith
Thank
3 comments
Dr. James Fox
I am not aware of this review. I'd be interested in the citation. The two largest double blind trials (one sham controlled) each showed positive results - that rTMS effectively treated depression. However, the effect size varied across these two studies (O'Reardon and George).
Dr. Kira Stein
Meta-analyses of more recent TMS studies show very strong effect sizes for TMS. Studies that show TMS as not as effective as inactive treatment are generally older studies using TMS protocols that are not as effective as the ones currently in use clinically.
Dr. Alan Ali
Psychiatry
2 doctors agree
In brief: TMS
Yes, more so when used in combination with antidepressants.

In brief: TMS
Yes, more so when used in combination with antidepressants.
Dr. Alan Ali
Dr. Alan Ali
Thank
1 comment
Dr. Kira Stein
I also like to use morning bright light therapy at the same time as TMS in unipolar depressed patients. Since they are here at my Los Angeles-based TMS center, 5 days a week, I also have my staff help them as needed with physical exercise. Psychotherapy in-between session can also capitalize on the neuroplastic changes stimulated by TMS, so we encourage this as well. As always, comprehensive approach that personalizes treatment seems to work the best.
Dr. Kira Stein
Psychiatry
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Absolutely
Research shows that tms, when used alone without meds, is as effective as a 1st trial of an antidepressant drug, and more effective than trying a 2nd one.
Using tms as an add-on to meds can be even more effective. As a psychiatrist who treats patients with tms and medications in los angeles, i feel very comfortable using both, either separately or in combination, depending on patient needs.

In brief: Absolutely
Research shows that tms, when used alone without meds, is as effective as a 1st trial of an antidepressant drug, and more effective than trying a 2nd one.
Using tms as an add-on to meds can be even more effective. As a psychiatrist who treats patients with tms and medications in los angeles, i feel very comfortable using both, either separately or in combination, depending on patient needs.
Dr. Kira Stein
Dr. Kira Stein
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Board Certified, Neurology
48 years in practice
55M people helped
Continue
107,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors