TMS targets the brain directly instead of indirectly like medicines.
Anyone considering treatment with any medicine might want to understand what systemic and non-systemic mean because all medications can have systemic side effects.
- Systemic treatments like pills have body wide side effects
- Non-systemic treatments like TMS don’t have body wide systemic side effects
That’s one of the reasons we like TMS so much. Because it is a direct, targeted treatment it has a much better side effect profile than medications. Repetitive TMS is both safe and effective. In Augusta depressed patients like it because it’s so easy on their bodies, so they avoid all the side effects of drugs.
What does systemic mean?
Systemic means pertaining to or affecting the body as a whole, rather than a single body part.
Think about putting a bunch of chemicals in a bathtub and soaking your entire body in the water. The water goes everywhere on the surface of your skin. You can’t isolate it to just the area between your shoulder blades.
Now think about putting a medicine into your body by swallowing the pills you’re given for a headache. The pills you swallow dissolve, and then the medicine within the pill goes wherever water goes. In other words, your skin is like the bathtub, filled with water, and you’ve just dissolved a chemical in the water. The chemical goes wherever the water goes.
Since you’re about 70% water, that means the medicine goes everywhere.
This helps explain why an antidepressant medicine which is intended to deal with one or several brain circuits might cause tummy problems or sexual dysfunction or dizziness. The medicine goes everywhere and may cause problems anywhere. These are systemic issues. Whole body involvement.
Not all medicines cause side effects in all people, but most medicines can have systemic side effects.
Medicines are nowhere near as toxic as many other chemicals.
In fact, when it comes to the systemic side effects which can be caused by drugs, and other chemicals, we’re very fortunate. Antidepressant medicines aren’t nearly as toxic as many sometimes necessary medicines.
Sometimes people don’t have any bothersome side effects from their antidepressants, but too often they do.
What does non-systemic mean?
Non-systemic means the effect is localized.
A treatment like TMS is non-systemic meaning that it is not taken by mouth and does not circulate in the bloodstream throughout the body.
A non-systemic treatment does not impact the entire body. In the realm of effective psychiatric treatments for serious depression, the only non-invasive, non-systemic, localized treatment is transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Does this matter to you?
There’s a big difference between systemic medicines and non-systemic TMS when it comes to the side effects. TMS is free of all systemic side effects, and it is safe.
Our Advanced TMS therapy uses the NeuroStar Therapy System. It is the first non-systemic and non-invasive depression treatment to be cleared by the FDA for the treatment of depression.