Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) | Loyola Medicine

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

State-of-the-Art Equipment to Treat Major Depression

Loyola Medicine’s highly skilled psychiatrists provide clinically integrated care for adult and pediatric patients with major depression. Loyola’s dedicated clinicians have experience treating a wide range of psychological conditions with outstanding results. For each and every patient, our specialists apply their considerable experience and collaborative working style to provide comprehensive care and achieve the best possible outcomes.

Major depression is a debilitating medical illness that affects 14 million Americans every year. Unfortunately, each year as many as four million people suffering major depression do not respond to antidepressant medications or cannot tolerate the side effects. For these patients, Loyola offers the most advanced treatment options, including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy.

The American Psychiatric Association and the World Psychiatric Association have recognized the effectiveness of TMS as a treatment for depression. TMS is indicated for adult patients who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from one prior antidepressant medication at or above the minimal effective dose and duration in the current episode.

What to Expect with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy

The Food and Drug Administration approved TMS therapy in 2009 for patients who have major depression and have failed at least one antidepressant. The FDA has approved one TMS system, NeuroStar®, made by Neuronetics. Loyola was one of the first centers in Illinois to offer this advanced treatment option.

During TMS treatment, the patient reclines in a comfortable padded chair. A magnetic coil, placed next to the left side of the head, sends short pulses of magnetic fields to the surface of the brain. This produces currents that stimulate brain cells; the currents, in turn, affect mood-regulatory circuits deeper in the brain. The resulting changes in the brain appear to be beneficial to patients who suffer depression.

Each treatment lasts an average of 30 minutes. Patients typically undergo five treatments per week for six weeks followed by a three week taper of the treatments. The treatments do not require anesthesia or sedation. Afterward, a patient can immediately resume normal activities, including driving. Studies have found that patients do not experience memory loss and in rare cases, some may experience seizures. Side effects include mild headache or tingling in the scalp, which can be treated with Tylenol.

Together, psychotherapy and antidepressants successfully treat only about one-third of patients who suffer major depression. TMS is a non-invasive treatment option now available for the other two-thirds of patients, who experience only partial relief from depression or no relief at all.

What are the Risks with Trancranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy?

Because this therapy uses a very strong magnet, TMS should not be used with patients who have implanted or non-removable metallic devices or objects in or around the head. TMS should be used with caution in patients with implanted devices controlled by physiological signals, like pacemakers or cardioverter defibrillators.

Clinical trials have proven that the treatment is safe. In 10,000 treatments, patients experienced:

  • No device-drug interactions
  • No dry mouth
  • No loss of concentration or memory
  • No nausea
  • No sedation
  • No seizures
  • No sexual dysfunction
  • No weight gain

For an appointment or for more information about transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, call 708-216-5093.