As of September 6th, 2022, the FDA greenlit the revolutionary TMS SAINT Protocol, a groundbreaking advancement in depression treatment. TMS SAINT, or ‘Stanford Accelerated Intelligent Neuromodulation Therapy,’ represents a cutting-edge evolution from traditional repetitive TMS (rTMS), displaying remarkable promise in early clinical trials. This article delves deep into the intricacies of the SAINT Protocol, providing a closer look at its benefits, ideal scenarios for application, and what distinguishes it from conventional depression treatments.
Ready to uncover the transformative potential of SAINT? Let’s explore.
How does it work?
The SAINT protocol is a type of TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) treatment, which means it uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. It specifically uses a theta-burst stimulation pattern, which is a type of TMS that has been found to be more effective than other types of TMS.
When you go in for treatment, you can expect to receive an fcMRI scan to map the areas of your brain that will be targeted by the magnetic pulses. Everyone’s brains are different, so this scan ensures the treatment is tailored specifically for you.
How is it different from regular TMS?
As previously mentioned, the SAINT protocol uses a theta-burst stimulation pattern, which is a type of TMS that has been found to be more effective than other types of TMS. Second, the SAINT protocol treatment itself consists of 10 sessions per day, each lasting about 10 minutes, for a total of 5 consecutive days. This is compared to regular TMS treatment, which typically consists of 1-3 sessions per day, each lasting about 30-60 minutes, for a total of 5-6 weeks.
When is it recommended?
The SAINT protocol is typically recommended for patients who have not responded to other forms of treatment, such as medication or traditional TMS. It may also be recommended for patients who are unable to take medication or who cannot tolerate the side effects of medication.
What are the pros and cons?
Just like with all treatments for depression, the SAINT protocol comes with pros and cons.
Much quicker treatment than other forms of TMS
While standard TMS treatments usually take 1-3 sessions per day, each lasting about 30-60 minutes, for a total of 5-6 weeks, the SAINT protocol consists of 10 sessions per day, each lasting about 10 minutes, for a total of 5 consecutive days.
May be more effective than other forms of TMS
With its theta-burst stimulation pattern and quicker treatment period, the SAINT protocol has been shown to be more effective than regular TMS in early clinical trials. Of course, every patient is different, so make sure to talk with your psychologist to properly evaluate your options.
Possible side effects
Like all treatments, the SAINT protocol comes with potential side effects. These include headaches, dizziness, insomnia, and fatigue. However, these side effects are typically mild and go away on their own after a few days.
Because the SAINT protocol has only recently received FDA approval, most insurance companies have not made a decision yet about whether or not they will cover this treatment. This can make obtaining insurance coverage challenging. Out-of-pocket costs for the treatment can be quite expensive for some patients.
Interested in learning more about SAINT and TMS?
Struggling with treatment-resistant depression can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to face it alone. BestMind Behavioral Health is dedicated to providing compassionate and tailored care to meet your unique needs. Our team, comprised of licensed psychiatrists, certified physician assistants, and advanced registered nurse practitioners, is well-equipped to guide you on your path to recovery. Whether it’s through accelerated TMS protocol, standard TMS, or other effective treatments, we understand that every person’s situation is unique. Take the first step towards a brighter future— contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation.
Your personalized journey to recovery starts here.