TMS Therapy

The Program  |  Eligibility  |  Resources

Hartford Hospital's Institute of Living is the first medical facility in the state to offer the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system.

NeuroStar TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) is the first and only TMS Therapy® device cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients who failed to benefit from prior antidepressant treatment.

NeuroStar TMS Therapy is a non-systemic (does not circulate in the bloodstream throughout the body) and non-invasive (does not involve surgery) form of neuromodulation. It stimulates nerve cells in an area of the brain that is linked to depression by delivering highly focused MRI-strength magnetic pulses.

Patients being treated by NeuroStar TMS Therapy do not require anesthesia or sedation and remain awake and alert. It is a 20-to-40-minute outpatient procedure that is prescribed by a psychiatrist and performed in a psychiatrist’s office. The treatment is typically administered daily for 4-6 weeks.


NeuroStar TMS Therapy has been demonstrated to be safe and tolerable.

Over 10,000 active treatments were safely performed with NeuroStar TMS Therapy during the clinical trials. No side effects such as weight gain, sexual problems, stomach problems, sleepiness, or dry mouth were seen during trials, and there were no negative effects on memory or ability to concentrate.

The most commonly reported side effect related to treatment was scalp pain or discomfort during the treatment session. This side effect was generally mild to moderate, and occurred less frequently after the first week of treatment. Less than 5% of patients treated with NeuroStar TMS Therapy discontinued treatment due to side effects.

NeuroStar TMS Therapy has been demonstrated to be effective in Major Depressive Disorder. Efficacy was established in a controlled clinical trial comparing active treatment with the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system to an inactive device. Patients treated with active NeuroStar TMS Therapy experienced an average reduction in their depression symptom score of 22.1% compared to a 9% average reduction in patients receiving inactive treatment. NeuroStar-treated patients also experienced significant improvement in anxiety, appetite changes, aches and pains and lack of energy associated with depression.

In an open label trial, which is most like a real world clinical practice, approximately 1 out of 2 patients treated with NeuroStar TMS Therapy experienced significant improvement in depression symptoms. Approximately 1 out of 3 patients treated with NeuroStar TMS Therapy experienced complete symptom relief at the end of six weeks. As with any antidepressant treatment, patients should be monitored for symptoms of worsening depression.

How it Works 

Through a treatment coil, the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system generates highly concentrated, magnetic fields which turn on and off very rapidly. These magnetic fields are the same type and strength as those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.

The treatment coil is applied to the head above the left prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is involved with mood regulation, and therefore is the location where the magnetic fields are focused. These magnetic fields do not directly affect the whole brain; they only reach about 2-3 centimeters into the brain directly beneath the treatment coil. As these magnetic fields move into the brain, they produce very small electrical currents. These electrical currents activate cells within the brain, which are thought to release neurotransmitters.

NeuroStar TMS Therapy® is indicated for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder in adult patients who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from one prior antidepressant medication at or above the minimal effective dose and duration in the current episode.

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Am I a Candidate for TMS Therapy?

NeuroStar TMS Therapy is an appropriate treatment option for adult patients with Major Depressive Disorder who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from one prior antidepressant medication at or above the minimal effective dose and duration in the current episode.

In clinical trials, half of the patients had been treated with at least four medication treatment attempts, one of which was at an adequate dose and duration. NeuroStar TMS Therapy has not been studied in patients who have not received prior antidepressant treatment. Efficacy has not been established in patients who have failed to receive benefit from two or more prior antidepressant medications at minimal effective dose and duration in the current episode. Not all patients are appropriate candidates for NeuroStar TMS Therapy.

To determine if NeuroStar TMS Therapy may be right for you, please talk with a behavioral health specialist at Hartford Hospital's Institute of Living.

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Center for Neurostimulation


TMS Therapy