TMS Safety Considerations

Written By: Butler Hospital on April 22, 2021

Over 10,000 active TMS treatments were safely performed during clinical trials with the type of TMS device used at Butler Hospital. The most commonly reported side effect related to TMS was scalp pain or discomfort during the treatment session. This side effect was generally mild to moderate, and occurred less frequently after the first week of treatment. Less than 5 percent of patients treated with TMS therapy discontinued treatment due to side effects.


Seizure has been reported in studies of TMS that used other types of TMS devices than the one used at Butler Hospital, so your doctor will review your individual risk with you before starting TMS treatments. If you continue taking medications that cause side effects, the addition of TMS Therapy will not make those side effects go away.


TMS therapy did not produce any hearing deficits in clinical trials patients, but the machine makes a loud clicking noise during treatments so you will be asked to wear earplugs as a precaution and for your comfort. Other side effects associated with TMS include muscle twitching, pain or discomfort in the eye, skin, face or toothache, generally experienced on the left side of the head.


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There is a risk for activation of a manic or hypomanic state with all antidepressant treatments, and some antidepressant treatments have been associated with the emergence or worsening of suicidal thoughts, so your doctor will monitor your symptoms and progress at every TMS session. You should tell your doctor if you experience undesirable sensations, side effects or worsening of depression (including thoughts of suicide) during treatment with TMS.


TMS therapy should not be used in patients with implanted metallic devices or non-removable metallic objects in or around the head (for example, metal plates in the skull, aneurysm coils, etc.) because serious injury could result. Patients with braces and metal fillings are acceptable for treatment; however, patients with other metal within their mouth should discuss this with their doctor.


TMS therapy is not recommended for patients with implants controlled by physiological signals. This includes pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), and vagus nerve stimulators (VNS).

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