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Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is a safe and effective treatment for major depression and major depressive disorder.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is an FDA-approved, noninvasive treatment for people with major depression who have not benefited from antidepressant medications. TMS is available by prescription only and delivered under the supervision of a board-certified psychiatrist. TMS targets the key area in the brain that controls mood, the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This area is known to be underactive when someone is suffering from major depression. Using focused magnetic pulses to stimulate that area, TMS may restore normal function and reduce the symptoms of depression.

Clinical trials have proven the effectiveness of TMS in treating patients with major depression. Approximately 60% of patients with treatment-resistant depression respond positively to TMS therapy.*

UF Health Psychiatry offers transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, an FDA-approved therapy for individuals who have treatment-resistant depression.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation quick facts

TMS treatments are free of side effects typically experienced with antidepressant medications.

  • Each TMS treatment takes less than an hour and is conducted in a doctor’s office, five days a week for approximately six weeks.
  • People receiving TMS treatment are awake and alert. They can speak with the doctor or clinician any time during treatment.
  • After a TMS treatment, people can return to normal activities immediately.
  • A person receiving TMS treatment will have a magnetic coil device placed on the head while sitting in a comfortable treatment chair.
  • People may hear a clicking sound and feel a tapping sensation during TMS treatment.
  • TMS is covered by most insurance plans.

Insurance and payment

Insurance companies determine a patient’s financial eligibility for reimbursement. The initial evaluation for TMS therapy usually is covered by insurance.

*Carpenter LL, Janicak PG, Aaronson ST, Boyadjis T, Brock DG, Cook IA, Dunner DL, Lanocha K, Solvason HB, Demitrack MA. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for major depression: a multisite, naturalistic, observational study of acute treatment outcomes in clinical practice. Depress Anxiety. 2012 Jul;29(7):587-96. doi: 10.1002/da.21969. Epub 2012 Jun 11. PMID: 22689344.

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