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Side Effects of TMS Therapy

An abundant list of clinical studies have been performed to substantiate the safety of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Over 10,000 trials have been performed with less than 5% of those studied discontinuing the treatment due to adverse reactions. These studies have shown that TMS is a safe and effective choice for people who have not benefited from other types of treatments for depression. An FDA approved device that is a viable alternative to drugs, TMS has no systemic side effects which are common with anti-depressant medication.

When compared to the risks of Anti-Depressants, TMS Therapy is far less hazardous than most of the drugs used to treat the illness. Many people stop taking their medication because of the severity of the side effects, which include the potential for suicidal thoughts, insomnia, drowsiness, persistent or severe headaches, sexual problems, dry mouth, sweating, tremors, dizziness, weight gain, anxiety, agitation, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.

With TMS, there are a few risks, but they are considered to be mild and will vary from one individual to the next. The benefits of TMS far outweigh the negatives, especially since the occurrence of any side effects will usually fade within the first 2 weeks. It is highly unlikely that they will continue throughout the entire 4-6 week period required for treatment. In addition, because sedation is unnecessary, any adverse effects of sedating drugs are eliminated with this procedure.


  • Mild to moderate pain in the scalp at the treatment site while therapy is in process, which significantly decreases after the first treatment (most common)
  • Rarely, seizures or tinnitus have been reported, sometimes associated with the use of Wellbutrin (bupropion), anti-depressant or anti-psychotic drugs. (This is avoided by monitoring dosages prior to treatment.)
  • Lower success rate in some patients
  • Headache or pain in the neck
  • Tingling sensation of the scalp
  • Dizziness that fades after the session ends
  • Lightheadedness which subsides soon after a treatment session


People with a history of seizure or with a genetic history of seizures should take precautionary measures, as TMS has a slight risk of seizure. Severely depressed individuals should be kept under observation for worsening of their symptoms.

Those who have conductive, ferromagnetic or any metals in their head which are reactive to magnetic currents should not receive TMS therapy. For instance, cochlear implants, other types of metal implants such as clips for an aneurysm, stents, or bullet fragments. If these devices are not removable or within 30 cm of the treatment coil, following these restrictions are imperative to avoid the risk of severe injury or death. Appropriate cautionary screening must be made to ensure that there is no risk of magnetic reaction to the treatment coil.


There have been no instances of concentration or memory loss associated with TMS treatment, nor have there been reports of brain tumors. Consider that TMS treatment uses the same type of magnetic field as MRIs, which have been utilized on millions of patients with no MRI-produced brain tumors.

The entire treatment course of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation delivers only a small fraction of the magnetic exposure produced by a single MRI brain scan. While lifetime long-term effects are not known at this time, all scientific evidence points to the fact that there are no substantial acute or residual side effects of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation when used in treatment for Depression.

Studies have shown an improvement in the symptoms of Depression in most individuals after a full course of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatments. If you would like to schedule an appointment to learn more about the benefits, contraindications and side effects of TMS Therapy for Depression, contact TMS Neuro Solutions today to schedule an appointment.