What is Accelerated TMS?
As of 2018, the FDA awarded 'Breakthrough Status' to a technology, called intermittent theta burst (iTBS) that reduced the treatment time from 19 minutes to 3 minutes, which allowed for multiple treatments to be administered an hour apart. We call this combination of iTBS and multiple treatments per day “accelerated TMS”. Breakthru Psychiatric Solutions is pleased to offer both traditional and accelerated TMS for patients dealing with treatment resistant depression (TRD).
Traditional TMS sends 10 Hz electromagnetic pulses to a targeted region of the brain that is part of the brain’s mood regulation circuitry. Accelerated TMS utilizes intermittent theta bursts (iTBS) to stimulate the same regions of the brain for TRD treatment.
These electromagnetic currents stimulate and activate neural pathways in the brain to restore emotional regulation. Since depression is thought to be the result of an imbalance in this area of the brain, both traditional and accelerated TMS can restore that balance and relieve depression symptoms.
What is the protocol for Accelerated TMS?
Rather than the standard 9 week protocol for traditional TMS (6 weeks of daily treatment + 3 week taper), accelerated TMS is offered over the course of two weeks. Patients receive 4 treatments/day five days a week for the full two weeks; 40 treatments in total.
Patients can expect to spend 3.5 hours in the office each day for the duration of their treatment, but are welcome to come and go in between treatments.
How Quickly Does Accelerated TMS Start Working?
While everyone’s journey is slightly different, many patients report that results from accelerated TMS are noticeable around day 4 of treatment. With traditional TMS, patients often see results in the fourth week of treatment.
Is Accelerated TMS Covered by Insurance?
At this time, accelerated TMS is not eligible for insurance coverage. We hope this will change in the future. Traditional TMS is eligible for insurance coverage.
What Are the Key Differences Between Accelerated and Traditional TMS?
The key differences between accelerated and traditional TMS are:
- The type of electromagnetic pulse used (iTBS vs 10 Hz)
- Duration of treatment (both time in chair and overall length of protocol: 3 min/treatment vs 19 min/treatment & 2 weeks vs 9 weeks)
- Insurance eligibility
Both TMS & Accelerated TMS are proven to be effective treatments for treatment resistant depression. Alleviation of symptoms is typically seen much faster with the accelerated protocol, and early science shows that theta burst stimulation might be more effective.
To learn more about the differences between traditional and accelerated TMS, read our blog post here and download our infographic here.
To find out more about accelerated TMS and how it could help relieve your treatment resistant depression, call Breakthru Psychiatric Solutions today or request an appointment online.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is accelerated TMS covered by insurance?
Traditional TMS (a 9-week protocol) is FDA approved and covered by insurance. Accelerated TMS is not currently covered by insurance.
What are common side effects of accelerated TMS?
Accelerated TMS is non-invasive and has the same side effects as traditional TMS, with mild headache after the first 1 - 3 treatments as the most common side effect.
Can I receive accelerated TMS treatment in conjunction with IV ketamine or Spravato?
TMS can be paired with IV ketamine or Spravato, if Dr. Giles thinks the patient’s symptoms warrant it.
How long am I in the clinic?
Accelerated TMS treatments are 3.5 hours/day (and include 4 treatments). Traditional TMS treatments are typically 30 minutes/day (for 1 treatment).
Can I drive home afterwards?
Is somebody with me for the entirety of the treatment?
Our clinical staff observes and supports our patients 100% of the time during treatments. Unlike some treatment facilities, a physician is onsite and available at all times during every treatment.