Most people tolerate rTMS without any significant side effects. The most common side effect is discomfort on or near the scalp. This is because the magnetic pulse that stimulates the brain will also stimulate the scalp near the magnet, and can create an unpleasant feeling. This discomfort, however, typically improves over the course of treatment. A smaller proportion of people have headaches after the session itself. A small percentage of people have feelings of being faint. Rare side effects include the potential risk of developing hypomania (feelings of increased energy, euphoria or irritability, reduced need for sleep) or thoughts of self harm in less than 1% of cases. There is a small risk of seizure being induced by the treatment, estimated to be about 1 in 10,000 cases. Those seizures that have occurred in treatment have not led to seizures outside of treatment sessions. In some cases, rTMS has been used as a treatment for epilepsy.
rTMS has also been shown to be beneficial in treating other conditions. A growing body of literature has shown benefit in treatment of pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, migraine and neuropathic pain conditions. There is increasing evidence for its use in post-traumatic stress disorder and some neurological conditions.
rTMS may be particularly suited for: (1) people who have not had good results with other standard treatments; (2) people who have had problems with side effects from other standard treatments; (3) people who have a preference to avoid medications or more invasive treatments.