TMS Therapy

Each year depression affects five to eight percent of adults in the United States. This means that about 25 million Americans will have an episode of major depression this year alone.  While medication can help manage symptoms for many people, it is estimated that approximately 4 million are not satisfied with the relief they receive from from taking standard antidepressant medication. For these patients, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS therapy) may be an effective alternative treatment.  

The UofL Depression Center, a part of UofL Physicans – Psychiatry,  is the first facility in Kentucky to offer Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) uses a targeted pulsed magnetic field, similar to what is used in an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine. While the patient is awake and alert, TMS Therapy stimulates areas of the brain that are underactive in depression. TMS Therapy is an FDA approved in-office treatment that may provide benefits to patients without the side effects often associated with antidepressant medication.

According to data from the FDA trials, one in three patients found significant relief or remission of depression symptoms after treatment with TMS. Other studies from independent research centers and college research centers found success rates to be close to one in two, according to the TMS Center of New York.

  • Uses precisely targeted magnetic pulses
  • Stimulates key areas of the brain that are underactive in patients with depression
  • Conducted in the doctor’s office
  • Does not require anesthesia or sedation 
  • Patients are awake and alert during treatment
  • Typically administered daily for 4-6 weeks with each treatment lasting approximately 30 minutes
  • Patients can go back to their normal activities immediately after treatment

To learn more about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and if it is the right treatment for you or your family member, please call UofL Physicians – Psychiatry for more information.

Psychiatric disorders

Neurological disorders 

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) works by stimulating areas of the brain that are underactive in patients with severe depression. An electromagnetic coil is held against the forehead and short electromagnetic pulses are administered through the coil. The magnetic pulse causes small electrical currents that stimulate nerve cells in the targeted brain region. The magnetic field is about the same strength as that of a MRI scan.

  • Uses precisely targeted magnetic pulses
  • Stimulates key areas of the brain that are underactive in patients with depression
  • Conducted in the doctor’s office 
  • Does not require anesthesia or sedation 
  • Patients are awake and alert during treatment
  • Typically administered daily for 4-6 weeks, treatments last approximately 30 minutes
  • Patients can go back to their normal activities immediately after treatment

A variant of TMS, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), has been tested as a treatment tool for various neurological and psychiatric disorders including migraine, stroke, Parkinson's disease, dystonia, tinnitus and depression.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there side effects? TMS Therapy is not a medication, so it does not circulate throughout the patient's body in the bloodstream. It does not have unwanted side effects such as weight gain, upset stomach, sleepiness or dry mouth. The most common side effects reported during clinical trials were headache and scalp discomfort (generally mild to moderate) occurring less frequently after the first week of treatment.

Does it cause memory loss? No. TMS Therapy was thoroughly evaluated for its effects on memory. Clinical trials demonstrated that TMS Therapy does not result in any negative effects on memory or concentration.

How long does the antidepressant effect of TMS therapy last?Research is still being done on the long-term outcome of treatment but in most patients, the clinical benefit of TMS Therapy was maintained through 6-12 months of follow-up study. Some people may benefit from a few booster sessions after completion of TMS therapy. 

Can I take medication while getting TMS?Yes. People may still take their anti-depressant medication while doing TMS therapy. 

Physicians in this practice may not see patients at all locations listed below. For details, please call the appointment line for the location you are interested in visiting.

TMS Therapy is administered in the UofL Physicians - Psychiatry practice in the UofL Health Care Outpatient Center in downtown Louisville.

Offices and Clinics

  • UofL Physicians Psychiatry at the UofL Physicians Outpatient Center
    401 E. Chestnut St.
    Suite 610
    Louisville, Kentucky 40202
    502-588-4450
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Hospital Affiliations

  • University of Louisville Hospital

At UofL Physicians – Psychiatry, our board certified physicians are regionally and nationally known in their fields for leading the treatment of a broad array of mental health disorders with the upmost skill and compassion. Our skilled clinical team evaluates, diagnoses, and treats patients facing mental health issues of all types and levels of severity. UofL Physicians strive to improve the care of our patients by providing the latest and most advanced psychiatric care.  In addition to their clinical care, our physicians are teachers and researchers at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

 

Next Steps

For more information or to make an appointment,
call 502-588-6000