TMS FAQs

What is NeuroStar TMS Therapy®?

Neurostar TMS Therapy® is an FDA-cleared proven no drug treatment for depression that is now available throughout the US. NeuroStar TMS Therapy is specifically for patients with depression who have not benefited from initial antidepressant medication.

How does NeuroStar TMS Therapy® work?

NeuroStar TMS Therapy® uses pulses of magnetic energy, precisely targeted at a critical area of the brain known to be underactive in depression sufferers. This area is called the prefrontal cortex.

By stimulating this local area, neurons in the prefrontal cortex communicate to deeper brain neurons causing a secondary effect on remaining areas of the brain involved in mood. These effects are intended to restore normal function and lift the symptoms of depression.

What are the side effects?

The most common side effect associated with TMS Therapy is pain or discomfort during treatment at or near the treatment area. This pain or discomfort is generally mild to moderate and typically diminishes after the first week of treatment.

In clinical trials, less than 5% of patients discontinued NeuroStar treatment due to side effects. NeuroStar treatment also showed no negative effects on thinking or memory.

Because NeuroStar TMS Therapy® acts directly on the prefrontal cortex, it lacks the systemic side effects experienced with antidepressant medication.

There is a rare risk of seizure associated with TMS Therapy. The risk of seizure in general clinical use is 1 in 30,000 treatments.

Will NeuroStar TMS Therapy® help with my depression?

Many people with major depression who were treated with NeuroStar experienced significant benefits. In clinical trials, including a trial of patients receiving the new depression treatment with NeuroStar TMS as part of their medical care, after six weeks of treatment, 1 in 2 patients improved significantly, and 1 in 3 patients was completely free of depression symptoms.(1)

Efficacy was established in a controlled clinical trial comparing active treatment with the NeuroStar TMS Therapy® System to an inactive device. Patients treated with active NeuroStar TMS Therapy received an average reduction in their depression symptom score of 22.1% compared to a 9% average reduction in patients receiving inactive treatment.(2)

What is treatment with NeuroStar TMS Therapy® like?

During treatment, patients recline comfortably and are awake and alert throughout the TMS Therapy session. No anesthesia or sedation is needed. Treatment involves placement of the magnetic coil against the patient’s head. Patients will hear a clicking sound and feel a tapping sensation on their head during treatment.

Each NeuroStar TMS Therapy® session takes less than an hour to complete and is conducted right in the doctor’s office, five days a week, for approximately four to six weeks. After treatment each day, patients can immediately return to normal activities.

Who should not receive NeuroStar TMS Therapy®?

NeuroStar TMS Therapy® may not be used for patients with implanted metallic devices or non-removable metallic objects in or around the head – this excludes dental fillings.

There may be other considerations that could prevent you from receiving TMS Therapy that your doctor will need to determine.

Is NeuroStar TMS Therapy® covered by insurance?

Neuronetics, the company that developed Neurostar Therapy, recognizes the importance of patient access to NeuroStar TMS Therapy®. TMS therapy is widely covered at this time; however some insurance companies have issued coverage policies, and many are covering the treatments, by exception, on a case-by-case basis. Most insurance companies will cover the cost of the initial consultation with a NeuroStar TMS Therapy doctor to see if this treatment is right for you.

We encourage you to consult with your insurance company regarding their willingness to cover NeuroStar TMS Therapy for you. To help with this process, we have a team devoted to providing general support regarding the reimbursement process.

Content Citations:

1. Neuronetics, Inc. Data on file

2. Demitrack MA, Thase, ME. Clinical significance of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in the treatment of pharmacoresistant depression: synthesis of recent data. Psychopharm Bull. 2009, 42(2): 5-38