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Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and MAOIs

Community Member
Has anyone had transcranial magnetic stimulation? My psychiatrist wants me to try this treatment as nothing else seems to be working. I have googled about TMS but there does not seem to be many personal accounts from people undertaking this treatment. From my reading it takes between 4 to 6 weeks and treatments are about 30 minutes to an hour each day. It appears to be very safe with no anaesthetic required. I would really like to find out from a real person what it was like, if it worked and whether you relapsed after about 6 months etc. Also do you continue to take ADs while undergoing the treatment. I  am currently on MAOIs. This requires a strict diet. I am increasing the dosage of the MAOIs over the next couple of weeks. Has anyone else taken MAOIs? How did you feel about the diet? I do not seem to have any adverse effects from the Medication which I have been on for about 3 months. They do not seem to actually do anything for me which is why the Psych wants me to try TMS. Over the years I have been on so many different ADs and they don't seem to work for me.  Would appreciate hearing about anyone else's experience with TMS or MAOIs.
39 Replies 39

Hi Tinka69 sorry for slow reply , Struggling big time at the moment getting out of bed is a chore . The clinic I may be having TMS done through hasn't commissioned the machine yet and it wont be available until late April . Not sure if I will proceed but may have no choice . Hopefully I may recover enough to not do it but I am not that optimistic at this time . Can you keep me posted if you continue with this procedure . Desperately after feed back as I have not got a lot of options left . Meeting with a guy today that is a personal trainer in my district that has suffered from depression for 10 years . He may be able to help with getting out there . As I said getting out of bed is hard at the moment . Hopefully he can instil some hope into me . Please stay in touch Thanks


Community Member

Afternoon Tinker69,

I forgot to mention the other day that I had to be stable on my meds for at least 1month, meaning no changes or increases in order to be accepted into TMS. Why? Because if you start TMS and you feel better they wont know if it was because of the meds or TMS. And as TMS is still a clinical trial here in Australia this is important. 

Hopefully this is a positive thing for you and will mean your treatment will still be a little while off as you indicated you have just increased your MAIO and that your husband will be home for the kids when you go for TMS treatment.

 I met people in hospital who could not speak more highly of what TMS was able to do for them. I sincerely hope u are one of these people.

Best of luck


Community Member

Hi Tinker69, this is my first post but having had 45 TMS treatments I thought I might have something to add!

I have bipolar, so bouts of bad depression and mania, particularly over the last 10 years, as well as severe anxiety. I have tried all the meds under the Sun and am now resistant to most of them or they give me horrible side effects. So when TMS was back on the table I thought terrific! No drugs, no side-effects and I could see that it did work for some people in the hospital. You can read about the ins and outs on the web, but essentially everyone has a different threshold for the waves to penetrate their skull, this can mean that it's painless for some people whilst I needed migraine prophylactics, paradeine forte, and anti-anxiety meds before each session.Then I was fine and just listened to music.

I had 20 sessions on the left side - no joy. 25 on the right - no change to depression whatsoever. However for others around me it worked a treat. It was a crap shoot. Only kicker is that if it works you have to come back every 3-5 weeks for 3 or 4 days for maintenance. And where I was that was as an in-patient! So you're wedded to this schedule. And considering some people were changing meds at the same time it was unclear whether their improvement was all down to TMS. However I saw enough people changed to be convinced that it DOES help some people. Just not me. For some of them it was a viable alternative to ECT.

I'm still looking for that magic formula - but more in psychology than psychiatry now. Hope my experiences are of some interest to someone.

Community Member
Similarly to others - I am very wary of ECT coz of the side effects - but my psych has suggested TMS. This being less invasive sounds more appealing to me - but I am not in a position to take 4 weeks off work to have this done. Has anyone done this as an outpatient and been able to continue working as normal? And also - does anyone know the cost involved as an outpatient if not covered by private health?

Community Member
Thanks for posting. Currently I am on day 9 of treatment. Too late to advise you. I wish I had stumbled on your post a year ago. I would have been more prepared for the treatment. I hope you are travelling along ok.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member
Does anyone know if TMS is avail via the public health system in Melbourne? At one Clinic you have to be an inpatient for a 4 week period and its $1000 a bed day with no health insurance. I read an article on a Monash research program, but not sure how that is accessed.

Dontlettheturkeys... How did the treatment go for you?

Community Member

Hi Wah,

My husband had to get private health cover to have TMS. He had to be covered for 2 months before he could access cover in a hospital in Melbourne. Most other conditions require 12 months cover beforehand but Mental Health is different. We got top cover as we knew he would be accessing it ASAP and therefore we pay nothing extra when he goes in for maintenance every 5 weeks. This consists of going in Friday morning, having 5 treatments whilst he is there and leaving first thing Monday morning. He has been having it now for over 3 years and I thank his Dr all the time for suggesting it. He suffers from chronic depression and hated the side effects of ECT. He is still taking his prescribed meds as well.

Community Member
I have just completed my first round of treatment of TMS in Perth. 25. 1 session everyday. I noticed a difference after the 4th one. I'm now interested in the maintenance side of things but it's a bit up in the air as it is a new treatment at the clinic I attend. I remained on normal meds all way through. It was completely non invasive and I suffered no side effects unlike when I had ECT. It was like a miracle but 3 weeks after I feel it wearing off... I'm seeing my Dr next week though.

Community Member
The Alfred Hospital is conducting an outpatient TMS trial. If accepted all treatment is free.