Since the 1980s, transcranial magnetic stimulation has been used to study the
nerve fibers that carry information about movements from the brain to the spinal cord and on to the muscles. In the late 1990s, physicians began to explore the
therapeutic potential of transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of a variety of diseases, with depression being the most thoroughly studied to date. Since then, more than 20 randomized, controlled trials studying transcranial
magnetic stimulation as a treatment for depression have been published by
investigators throughout the world.
NeuroStar TMS Therapy
is a new treatment cleared by the US Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) for patients suffering from depression who have not achieved satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant treatment. TMS stands for "transcranial magnetic stimulation." TMS Therapy is a treatment that can be
performed in a psychiatrist's office, under his or her supervision, using a medical device called the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system. NeuroStar TMS Therapy is:
- Non-invasive, meaning that it does not involve surgery. It does not require any
anesthesia or sedation, as the patient remains awake and alert during the treatment.
- Non-systemic, meaning that it is not taken by mouth and does not circulate in the blood stream throughout the body.
The typical initial treatment course consists of at least 5 treatments per
week over a 4-6 week period, for an average of 20-30 total treatments.
Each treatment session lasts approximately 40 minutes.