Each treatment session lasts 30 to 40 minutes, on average. Patients must commit to daily treatments for three to nine weeks.
Low Risk of Seizures
There is a very low risk of a seizure. If it does occur, it will happen while you are hooked up to the TMS machine and under medical supervision.
Your insurance carrier may or may not provide coverage for TMS treatment, depending on the criteria established in your policy. For example, many people with treatment-resistant depression must try two or three medications before their insurance will cover TMS.
Mild Scalp Discomfort
Although the few side effects are all short-lived and mild, one of the most common complaints is mild scalp discomfort. It may feel like tingling, tapping, or tightening of the muscles in the area, and it goes away quickly once the session ends. Patients who experience this sensation report that it lessens over time.
Some insurance companies may not pay anything at all to help offset the cost of TMS treatment. Costs vary, depending on the number of treatments needed and other individualized factors. Insurance companies often require the patient to make a copayment for each treatment. However, many people consider this treatment cost-effective as compared to other modalities that don’t work well or provide relief.
Lack of Education
TMS has been FDA-approved for the care of treatment-resistant depression, which is defined as having failed at least one antidepressant over 10 years.
However, many people, including primary care physicians and therapists, don’t even know that it exists.
Pros and Cons at a Glance
Effective — even people who have failed to gain relief from meds achieve a 60% to 70% response rate
Tested with more than 10 years of experience
Minimal side effects
Costs - up front or copayment
- $10 – $350
- $20 – $700
- $30 – $1,050
Common Misconceptions About TMS
You Can Still Take Your Meds
TMS won’t interfere with most medications. You can also opt for TMS in combination with antidepressants — it may even increase their effectiveness. During your consultation and evaluation, Dr. Astruc will evaluate any prescription and over-the-counter drugs you take.
TMS Is Not Only for Depression
Currently, TMS is FDA-approved for treatment-resistant depression. However, growing evidence shows that it may be effective in relieving other conditions too. Off-label use of TMS is typically not covered by insurance.
TMS Is Not New
Although it’s new to many people, TMS has been around for decades. It was invented in 1985 and has been FDA-approved for major depression since 2008.
Insurance Regulations Have Changed
At one time, insurance carriers didn’t cover TMS therapy. Thanks to evolving regulations, many carriers now cover it as medically necessary for qualifying patients, although there may be policy limitations.