NeuroStar uses transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to target key areas of the brain that are underactive in people with depression. It is not ECT (electroconvulsive therapy).
While the exact cause of depression is not known, the leading scientific theory is that it is caused by an imbalance of the brain’s neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that send signals between brain cells.
During a NeuroStar treatment session, a magnet similar in strength to that used in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine is used to stimulate nerve cells in the area of the brain thought to control mood. These magnetic pulses may have a positive effect on the brain’s neurotransmitter levels, making long-term remission possible.
You’ll recline comfortably in the treatment chair. A small, curved magnetic coil will be positioned lightly on your head.
NeuroStar delivers focused magnetic stimulation directly to the target areas of the brain. You’ll hear a clicking sound and feel a tapping sensation on your head.
NeuroStar Advanced Therapy: Depending on your doctor’s recommendation, each treatment takes between 19 and 37 minutes.
You can resume normal activities immediately. Because there are no effects on alertness or memory, you can 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.*
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
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.
TMS involves delivering magnetic pulses to specific parts of the brain.
A typical initial course of treatment is about 19-37 minutes daily over 4-6 weeks.
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.
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.
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.