Patients who have been diagnosed with depression by a psychiatrist and who have not responded to treatment with medication (or who have treatment resistant depression) may want to consider TMS. While anti-depressants are commonly used for depression, many patients either do not respond to medicines or experience side effects from them. For patients who have treatment resistant depression, TMS may offer an alternative treatment. Research has been conducted with TMS for other psychiatric conditions but as yet the only indication for which TMS is allowed to be used in Australia is for those with treatment resistant depression, where patients have failed other treatments.
Who should not have TMS?
Research in TMS is limited to adults so patients under the age of 18 are not recommended to have TMS at this time. Sydney TMS will continue to monitor for research in younger patients and will extend this service to patients if research starts to support its use. Similarly there is limited research about the safety of TMS in pregnant women so at this stage we do not offer TMS during pregnancy.
Because TMS requires the generation of electromagnetic fields it is not suitable for patients who have metallic or electronic medical devices or implants near the head region. These include patients with active or inactive implants (including device leads), including deep brain stimulators, cochlear implants, and vagus nerve stimulators. It is considered safe to offer TMS to patients with cardiac pacemakers as this is sufficiently far away from the magnetic field to be effected.