In April 2021, Brainsway Deep TMS received FDA clearance for a 3-minute Intermittent Theta Burst (iTBS) Protocol for Treatment-Resistant Depression. iTBS is a stimulation protocol that delivers 600 magnetic pulses in bursts of 3 pulses at a time, hence it is called intermittent theta-burst. The traditional Deep TMS protocol consists of 1980 pulses delivered over 19 minutes. The shorter treatment was shown to be equivalent to the longer treatment in reducing depressive symptoms.
The current Brainsway devices are already capable of doing theta burst treatment. At Houston West TMS, we have been using various theta burst protocols to treat depression, anxiety, and other conditions for several years. Some clinics feel that adding a theta-burst treatment to the 19-minute treatment adds additional benefit. Others do multiple theta bursts treatments in one day to accelerate the treatment to hopefully achieve a more rapid response. Multiple TBS sessions in one day can also be used when the patient is not able to attend the 36 treatment days to complete the recommended treatment protocol. These off-label uses of theta-burst can be performed at the clinician's discretion. At Houston West TMS, we have often added theta-burst to the traditional "Gold Standard" treatment at no additional charge.
The Theta Burst treatments are easier on the patient. They require less "time in the chair" for the patient and are more tolerable since they may require a lower intensity of the magnetic impulses. Theta Burst treatments have similar risks and side effects as the traditional repetitive TMS.
If you are suffering from depression that has not responded adequately to antidepressant medication and psychotherapy, please consider Deep TMS as an option. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about TMS, please contact D. Drell at Houston West TMS.