Yes. The device can work for patients who have not found success with medication.
The answer is yes and the reason is that the Fisher Wallace Stimulator® employs a completely different method of action than drug therapy. Instead of inhibiting neurons from absorbing serotonin, as antidepressant medication does, the Fisher Wallace Stimulator® activates brain regions, such as the basal ganglia and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, that are responsible for mood, sleep and cognition.
When used cranially to treat insomnia, depression and anxiety, 1 in 500 patients report a mild headache upon using the device. Approximately 1 in 250 patients may experience an increase in wakefulness immediately after using the device. If this occurs, the device should not be used within three hours of bedtime.
Although not a side effect, improper use of the device may result in minor electrode irritation - this can occur if the sponges are not thoroughly wet before use. People with very sensitive skin may find that the sponge electrodes, even when wet, cause a slight irritation to the skin - but this is very rare.
The Fisher Wallace Stimulator® works by stimulating the brain to produce neurochemicals such as serotonin, while modulating the default mode network and entraining alpha waves. The device treats insomnia but is not a sedative - instead, the device modulates the brain to produce a restful state that accelerates sleep onset and restores longer periods of sleep.
Many patients do not feel the stimulation at all, while some may feel a mild tingling at the sponge contact sites.
Many people report positive changes during or shortly after the first 5-10 treatment sessions. Results in treating insomnia are typically experienced faster than in treating depression and anxiety. The device should be used daily for up to 3-4 weeks before making a decision regarding effectiveness. While level 2 is the recommended starting dosage level, the device may be used safely at level 3 and 4, should level 2 not produce positive results after two weeks
The Fisher Wallace Stimulator® can be used by all patients except those with implanted medical devices, such as an implanted nerve stimulator or pacemaker. The device is contraindicated for use on the body in patients who have demand or sensing type cardiac pacemakers. The stimulator's electrical impulses may interfere with the functioning of such implanted devices.
Guidelines for insurance reimbursement are below. Please call us at (800) 692-4380 if you have any questions.
Many private insurance companies will reimburse patients for the purchase of a Fisher Wallace Stimulator® if the patient's doctor provides a letter of medical necessity. You may download a template of this letter by clicking Here. Your doctor will need to edit the template.
If the insurance company denies the claim at first, it will often accept the claim once the patient contests the initial denial.
You may reference the Medical Code: E0720 NU and the Provider Number: 1497045215 as needed for submission.
Medicare and Medicaid
Medicaid in Maine (MaineCare) fully covers the purchase of the device (visit our MaineCare site here). Medicare does not currently cover the purchase of the device.
Tricare for Life
TRICARE For Life covers the purchase of the Fisher Wallace Stimulator®. The device is covered for any veteran -- or immediate family member of a veteran -- who is either (1) retired from the armed services and over 65 or (2) on permanent disability and under 65.
Use the Medical Code: E1399 NU and the Provider Number: 1497045215, both of which are required for submission. Submit your claim directly to TRICARE For Life.