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Mind Connections SHS

Mind Connections Specialist Health Services Maintenance rTMS

Uncategorized . 5 minutes read . July 5, 2022

42 year old, married, father who uses maintenance rTMS as a relapse prevention strategy for severe depressive episodes described his experience here. 

‘I had 30 rTMS sessions and got my life back, a wonderful feeling after suffering for years. But I noticed mood swings returning after about three weeks. Lack of energy, and my mood was going down again. I decided to have maintenance rTMS. I certainly didn’t want tablets again. It definitely made a difference. Now I have maintenance at the end of the week, and it is like I come to get my 'top up'; it shapes my mood for the week.’

‘The good thing is Life is back on track. I am in control of my life.’

Relapse prevention for wellbeing

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is well-tolerated and has extremely mild, short-lived side effects if any are felt at all. Often rTMS acute therapy, which comprise 35 rTMS treatment sessions, is successful for a variety of disorders; Depressive disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Auditory Hallucinations in Schizophrenia and many other disorders.

However, clinical management of a patient does not end after the initial course of rTMS. Most of these conditions are recurrent; it is essential to continue with maintenance rTMS as a relapse prevention measure. rTMS is safe, non-invasive, modern treatment which prevents relapses.

Maintenance rTMS can help you stay well over time.

What is TMS Maintenance and How Can It Cure Depression?

Instead of taking medications for years to prevent relapses, maintenance therapy can be used to prevent relapses. rTMS maintenance typically involves regular scheduled rTMS sessions catered for the individual, usually administered on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis.

Who will benefit from maintenance rTMS?

Maintenance TMS therapy should be especially considered to prevent relapse episodes when other established methods of maintenance antidepressant therapy such as medication and psychotherapy fail to provide a satisfactory sustained pattern of clinical benefit.

Signs of relapsing depression occur when you feel that old dysfunctional habits are re-emerging with or without suicidal ideation.

  1. If you think you do not have energy, or motivation, and experience a lack of sleep and poor appetite
  2. Changes in social life with friends
  3. Too much alcohol, gambling etc.
  4. There is a history of frequent relapse (two or more episodes in one year).

What are the rTMS maintenance therapy protocols?

rTMS maintenance method may vary according to the individual as everyone’s mental health condition is unique to the person. Studies suggested many protocols. All of these maintenance therapies prevented relapse more effectively than no preventative rTMS maintenance at all.

a. Some studies have proven efficacy with five TMS sessions administered over the course of two days every month.
b. Other studies suggested one weekly session for two weeks, followed by one session every two weeks for a span of two months, followed by one session per month.
c. A randomised pilot study of a rTMS maintenance in patients with major depressive disorder demonstrated improved outcomes in participants who received a regimen of TMS maintenance once per month.
More studies are emerging confirming evidence for using rTMS as a sole maintenance strategy without medication.

Why is rTMS maintenance therapy essential? 

Maintenance is a vital aspect of rTMS therapy.

 rTMS therapy trains the way of effective communication between chemical neurotransmitters. However, this effective way of chemical communication established by rTMS may slowly deteriorate over time after rTMS is discontinued for a period. This scenario is similar to you becoming out of shape once you stop your tennis practice or swimming or gym training. Maintenance rTMS treatment prevents you from returning to previous chemical imbalance levels. 

It makes good sense. rTMS is easy and it is effective. 

How much it costs me?

Medicare does not currently pay for maintenance rTMS sessions
Once you finish with your initial 35 sessions, you must wait another four months to be eligible for another 15 rTMS sessions to receive Medicare reimbursements. Most patients need maintenance sessions in between and after the second episode of treatment. These sessions incur an out of pocket fee as there are no Medicare reimbursements for maintenance rTMS.

Patient support group 

We have seen many patients come for maintenance treatment and enjoy their experience, and lately, we have a demand for a patient support group. We plan to launch an rTMS patient support group in September 2022 led by Sienna Rizzo, our rTMS technician. Our psychiatrist team will oversee the support group. 

The support group is available for patients who went through the rTMS therapy. They will have the opportunity to support each other, share their experiences and continue with social connectedness even if they do not have an opportunity for maintenance treatments. Duration once a month 1 hr sessions in person. Watch this space for more details. 

Contact us 

To learn more about how maintenance rTMS works, visit our website  www.mindconnectionsshs.com.au or contact us via email 
We’re happy to assess whether TMS is the right choice for you.            

Is Maintenance Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Patients With Depression a Valid Therapeutic Strategy? (tmscourse.com)

Maintenance rTMS for Treatment-Resistant Depression - Psychiatry Advisor