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Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and MAOIs

Tinker69
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.
38 Replies 38

Chris_B
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Tinker69,

Sorry you haven't had a reply on this, but as you probably know this is a form of treatment still relatively rare in Australia (the Melbourne Clinic lists it under their Innovative Treatments for Depression page).

Below is some information from the beyondblue What Works For Depression resource, which gives a summary of the evidence base for all different types of treatments.

If you're after some anecdotes from people who have tried TMS, try adding the word "forums" to the end of your Google search - I was able to find some international forums that way which had some posts from patients.

TMS



Neil_1
Community Member

Hi there tinker

 

Welcome to Beyond Blue and thanx for providing a very interesting post, and you’ve posed a number of good questions.

 

I’m hoping that someone out there in Beyond Blue land will be able to provide you with the kinds of advice that you’re after.

 

One thing I’d be checking on though is with your current medication;   and you’ve asked the very question, about whether you still take it while undergoing this treatment.  Because if you should be ‘off’ your medication AND you’re going to increase the dosage over the next couple of weeks, then it’s going to take some time for you to get off this medication, as it should be a slow and steady removal of dosage of meds, before completely going to the wash-out phase.  So certainly worth finding out about that.  Even from your psyche if you have another appointment soon.

 

Kind regards

 

Neil

Tinker69
Community Member

Hi Chris and Neil,

Thanks for both your responses. The information Chris provided seems to match what I have been able to google. I really appreciate the advices on adding forums to my search. I will hopefully be able to get more  information from  those websites. I was hoping people on this site had some experience but as Chris said it is fairly new in Australia. I guess I will be able to tell people about my experience when I start. Apparently I am waiting for a bed to become available. I think you can do this as an outpatient but as I do not live in Sydney so I am guessing that is why they want to put me in hospital.

The MAOIs don't seem to be helping my mood. I was on a low dose so that may have been why. I will double my dose over the next two weeks. Then if I have not started TMS by the time I am supposed to go back to my psych I will be increasing The number of tablets again. I have been on them since Xmas so should have seen some improvement. All I do is sleep. I don't mind the diet too much. It would have been nice to talk to someone else on this type of medication. As they are rarely prescribed now I guess this forum does not have anyone on them. 

I will update this post on my experience with TMS as I go so others can see what it is like. Might be a few weeks away though

tinks69

damnit
Community Member
Hi, I was part of a TMS trial a few years ago and in my opinion it was a waste of time. I received it 5 times a week for 4 weeks. It had almost no effect on my depression and any benefit disappeared within a week. There was a lot of hope that it would work at first but long term studies are showing that it has a low success rate and the effect quickly fades. I believe the success rate actually falls into what is scientifically accepted to be the placebo effect (30% or less). I had no side affects from the treatment apart from minor headaches but as I said it was of no help.

desperate
Community Member
Hi Tinker69 . This is my first post so bare with me . A bit disorientated this morning . Diagnosed with Major Depression 15 + years ago seemed to go into remission for much of this time then suffered a major crash 18 months ago after losing my job a couple of weeks after that lost a large boat in an accident then my mother passed away . triple wammy and here I am suffering big time as for many of us . Tried all the meds and cocktails , ECT , hospitalised twice , supplements /vitamins . Tried many jobs mostly away from home . Couldn't cope resigned from them all . Psyc Doc has recommended TMS which will be introduced into my local MH clinic in April . I am on medication and have been for quite a while . No affect . He said IF I go ahead with TMS he will take me of the MAOI and try another drug whilst participating in TMS . Will need hospitalising for 30 days one session of TMS every week day .  Wish I could find someone with a positive result on this procedure in Australia . Plenty from USA when you search? Hope this helps.  Good luck

Tinker69
Community Member

Hi Damnit and Desperate, thank you both for responding to my post. Damnit it is very disappointing to read that your TMS experience was a failure. I was hoping for better news on the results. I am very grateful for your post as I really wanted to hear from someone on BB.

Desperate you sound as if your treatment is similar to mine. I have been diagnosed with major depression for about Fifteen years too. I have been hospitalised a couple of times and tried so many different cocktail of drugs it's hard to remember them all. I have been offered ECT but have not done it as I am scared of the memory loss. I find it strange that you are going off MAOIs to do the treatment and my psych is increasing mine to 6 tablets a day. Everyone is different I guess. 

I was saddened to read about all the awful things that have happened to you. No wonder you are relapsing. I have been off work for nearly 12 months now. I have not lost my job yet but am being assessed to find out if I can go back. I want to work just not in the area I was in as it was a horrible place. I am not well enough to go back for a while yet. 

We may be undertaking the TMS at the same time. Did you read Damnit's post. Not very promising. I am willing to give it a go as nothing else is working. Still not sure when a bed will be made available, it's been two weeks since I saw the psych. I only know that it will be somewhere in Sydney.

I look forward to hearing more of both your journeys. Thank you both once again for posting. I will continue to post here as things progress. It would be great if you Desperate could also post your progress too. That way maybe we can help others who are considering this treatment. Sending you both big hugs.

tinks

Liz99
Community Member

Hi Tinker69,

Truly sorry to hear about what ur going through. I can relate and hopefully add a bit of my experience with MAIOs and TMS. I'll try and be as brief as possible. 

I'm in my late 20's and have suffered depression for 13 years. I have been diagnosed with treatment resistant major depression as well as ocd & anxiety. And subsequently have tried all the types of antidepressants over the last 10 years, as well as counseling, psychologists & psychotherapists & weekly group therapy. And have had 5 hospital stays in the last 2 years. 

Fearing i had nothing left and despite my psychiatrist advising TMS doesn't have much proven effect- I did it anyway! I live in Sydney but as the only place offering TMS im sorry to say left me nervy I went to Melbourne late last year for treatment. I had 20 treatments over 4 weeks to my left side. Unfortunately in my case it didnt prove successful.  But a few others around me were praising TMS and others unfort like me, it didnt help. Side effects - during my face twitched which I will say did hurt. But no beauty without pain right? A loud nose but theres headphones for that. Occasionally my eyes watered. Afterwards - I had a headache and my jawline hurt. But both go away. Its uncomfortable but I would do anything to feel better! And I had nothing to lose.

MAIOs - I've been on both a MAIO & a Reversible MAIO over the last 2 years. Both gave me side effects but I persisted. I was on MAIO for 1 year and reversible MAIO for 7 months - in combination with other meds.  Unfortunately for me neither helped, even less so on the reversible MAIO. 

 I'm sorry I could not fill nor end this post on a more positive note. But I honestly wish you luck. If I had my time again I'd still try both MAIOs and TMS.

 Liz

damnit
Community Member
Hi Tinker69 and desperate. It sounds like we have quite a few things in common. I had been tried on about 20 antidepressants antipsychotics and even epilepsy medication to try and help my depression. When I was undergoing TMS I was not on any medication at the time. For the study I had to continue with whatever  psychiatric medications I was on at the time which where nil so I was a clean slate so to speak for the effects of TMS. The studies I have read about its effectiveness that have shown a major benefit seem to be clouded by the fact that the amount of medication they have been on has changed after the TMS which in my eye nullifies the result. I found one glowing study for a particular method of TMS but on reading the fine print the study was funded by the equipment manufacturer. Id like to hear how the two of you go and what length the treatments are and the position of the magnet (Curious to see if anything has changed). As I said before, The only side effect is I got minor headaches after some treatments and I had a bit of a facial muscle spasm whilst undergoing treatment which I was told was due to the magnet activating the nerve. Looking forward to hearing about your experiences

Tinker69
Community Member

Dear Liz thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. It sounds as if you are truly doing it tough. I don't have OCD but I do have the anxiety. I don't seem to have any side effects from my medication so far. It's been about 3 months give or take. Today I increase the dosage so will see how I go. I am expecting that it will be fine. Damnit seems to have had a similar experience to yourself with the therapy which is a bit concerning. I still intend to give it a go as I am desperate to feel even slightly better than what I do now. All of us are suffering and we deserve the opportunity to feel normal (whatever that is). I am very grateful to both you and Damnit for sharing your experiences. It helps to have some understanding of what the therapy may be like. Hopefully a bed becomes available soon. My husband is about to go away with work so I am a bit worried he will be away when I get the bed. I have one child left at home and although she is 17 I don't want to leave her on her own. She also suffers from depression and anxiety. She is doing year 12 so I am really hoping that the hospital stay does not coincide with hubby being away. I am lucky that her older sister lives near by and can help out if required. Once again thanks to everyone who has shared their experiences. I am sure this thread will help others as well.

tinks