Marketing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Patients

Along with many other clinicians and researchers, Dr. Cochran is excited about the many potential conditions for which TMS could be used.  As Dr. Cochran and others have said, TMS could transform the way we treat psychiatric illness.  Despite the fact that there are many clinical trials using TMS for other psychiatric diagnoses, presently, the only indication cleared by the FDA for TMS is for the treatment of Major Depression.  Another way to say this is depression is the only "on-label" indication for TMS.  Likewise, depression is the only indication for which most insurance plans will authorize and pay.

So you understand, physicians are allowed to use their own medical judgment and may prescribe and use any treatment for a patient off- label (including TMS).  Here is the "Buyer Beware" portion:  Doctors and TMS clinics, will make more money when they treat off-label as insurance companies will not pay for off-label treatments, and the patient will have to pay out-of-pocket completely. This process is not necessarily bad or in anyway unethical, but certainly worthy of one’s understanding and consideration.

If you or a family member is considering an off-label treatment using TMS, we always recommend getting a second opinion before you begin with any office, including our own.  There are lots of “on-label’ options which should be considered before using a treatment that is not indicated for a condition.

Dr. Cochran firmly believes that advertising TMS for off- label indications is unethical and is misleading to patients and the community as a whole.  She recently became aware that the third party social media company, which our office used for three months earlier this year, posted several Twitter feeds that could be interpreted as misleading and unethical.  Dr. Cochran has deleted these posts and asks that you, please, notify our office if you find any post misleading as to the approved use of TMS per the FDA indication.

We removed the following posts on our Facebook and Twitter page that Dr. Cochran felt could be misleading to patients: June 17, June 15, June 12, June 10, and June 7.  Please contact our office if you find any posts on our site or any other site you have questions about.