Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) currently has FDA-approval for treating Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and nicotine dependence (for smoking cessation). In Europe and other countries, the treatment has been formally approved to treat other conditions aside from MDD and OCD.
However, many mental health professionals in the United States are using TMS as an off-label treatment for other mental health conditions and even some physical conditions. Researchers are also continuing to conduct studies on the treatment’s efficacy for several conditions, which could lead to total FDA approval.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about these off-label TMS treatments.
Read on to learn more.
What Is TMS?
TMS is short for transcranial magnetic stimulation. It’s a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells to improve neurotransmitter pathways. More specifically, TMS stimulates the areas of the brain that control mood and depression, which increases neurotransmitter activity and decreases symptoms of depression.
What Are Off-Label TMS Treatments?
Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that TMS therapy is successful in treating a wide range of mental health disorders, the FDA has only cleared TMD for MDD, OCD, and smoking cessation. Therefore, when we say “off-label” TMS treatments, we’re referring to the administration of the therapy for treatment outside of what has been approved by the FDA.
Does this mean that the treatment is any less effective or dangerous? No. It simply means that clinical studies are still in the works regarding the various other mental health and even physical conditions that TMS has the potential to successfully treat. Essentially, it just means that there needs to be a certain amount of clinical hours and conclusive results to receive the official approval stamp granted by the FDA.
What does TMS Treat, and Is It Effective?
There are several conditions that TMS has the potential to effectively treat, including the following:
- Bipolar disorder
- ADD and ADHD
- Substance use disorders
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Eating Disorders
- Migraines and chronic pain
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Stroke rehabilitation
Put simply, in targeting specific regions of the brain, TMS therapy has essentially proven to “rewire” the brain’s neural pathways. Multiple studies have shown its efficacy in increasing positive brain activity and decreasing negative brain activity.
For example, in the case of individuals with autism, TMS has been shown to reduce certain symptoms associated with the condition such as reducing irritability and repetitive behaviors. It has also shown to improve hand-eye coordination as well as social skills.
Additionally, a study conducted in France concluded that TMS may be the key to improving balance and motor functions in people with MS when combined with traditional rehabilitation techniques.
Are There Any Negative Side Effects?
TMS therapy is not only highly effective, but proven safe. What’s even more exciting is that it may soon be able to serve as a viable and healthier alternative to prescription medications.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any adverse side effects involved. Individuals who receive TMS treatment may experience headaches or tingling in their scalp or jaw. However, these side effects are both rare and mild, and there are also no long-term negative side effects of the treatment.
If you’re interested in TMS, contact us now in order to schedule a consultation!