Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) uses magnetic pulses to alter the activity of the brain in areas which are altered in depression and similar conditions. 

‘Standard’ rTMS is approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for the treatment of depression.  

There are other ways of giving rTMS which differ from ‘Standard’ rTMS. We use an rTMS protocol called “accelerated intermittent Theta Burst Stimulation (aiTBS).”   This is an adaptation of an iTBS protocol which is licensed in the USA. The version of aiTBS which we use reduces the duration of treatment by delivering the same number of pulses in a shorter time. It is not a licensed treatment protocol.  

To have this treatment, you come to the Warneford Hospital 5 days a week, typically for two weeks. Each day, you will have two treatment sessions lasting 10-20 minutes, spaced at least an hour apart.  

You sit in a large chair.  A box is put against your head which gives the treatment pulses.  You will feel tapping or twitching.  The commonest side effects are headache and scalp pain. You are allowed to drive afterwards.   rTMS does not involve needles or taking medication.

After the course of treatment has finished, you may need to return for top-up sessions. The frequency of these top-ups gradually reduces from once a week to once every two or three months. 

For full information about the service, click the link below

rTMS Version 3.0_01


Page last reviewed: 8 February, 2024