The side effects of some drugs is a listing of potentially dangerous events, as can be seen in this video (clicking on this link will open a separate page). In comparison, the most common complaint TMS patients refer is discomfort on the scalp region where the NeuroStar magnetic coil is placed. This discomfort can appear for two reasons.
The first one is that in order to be effective the coil must have a firm contact with your head and the pressure may not be to your liking. All the same, many patients refer that the compressed and “snug” feeling of the head between the head pad and the treatment NeuroStar magnetic coil is comfortable and reassuring.
The second reason is that based on electromagnetic laws the action of the NeuroStar coil will elicit minute electric action potentials that may depolarize cutaneous pain receptors. This discomfort is manageable and with the approval of your treating physician or the physician-in-charge, you may take an over-the-counter analgesic. Once approved, some patients can take it prophylactically before the treatment. In most cases, this is not needed as the patients get used to these sensations over the first week of treatment.
Another potential side effect is localized numbness reported by the patient when the coil is removed after treatment. This sensation is caused by the compression of the skin by the coil and disappears after a few minutes.
Because the magnetic impulses create electrical action potentials, the muscles that are in the way of the magnetic pulses may be activated. This can cause a twitching of the muscles of the forehead and sometimes the muscles around the eye. If the twitching causes discomfort, your Certified TMS Specialist will adjust the coil angle and potentially slightly adjust the coil location to diminish this discomfort.
The localized side effects of TMS Therapy treatment are minimal when compared to the systemic major side effects of depression medication. The following image illustrates this concept, and shows only some of the side effects of drug therapy.
You have now all the information you need to make an informed decision on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder for you or a loved one. If you have any questions please feel free to Contact Us here.