Frequently Asked Questions
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Patients use the Fisher Wallace Stimulator® at home for 20 minutes, once or twice a day on "Level 2." Patients with insomnia use the device within two hours of bedtime. Consistent daily use in the first 30 days is recommended.
If mood and sleep symptoms are reduced but do not go into remission within the first 30 days, patients may continue using the device on a daily basis. The device has been on the market since 1990 without reports of negative effects resulting from long term use.
If mood and sleep symptoms go into remission (no symptoms), patients may use the device three to four times per week -- or as needed -- to maintain their results. There are no withdrawal effects associated with decreasing or stopping use of the device.
The device may be safely used in conjunction with antidepressants and/or other medications. Patients should not reduce or cease taking medication without first speaking with their doctor.
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.
- This device should not be used around the Carotid sinus.
- Patients with known or suspected heart disease should not be stimulated.
- Patients who react poorly to the idea of electrical stimulation of any kind should not use this device.
- Patients whose skin is irritated around either electrode site should discontinue use of this device.
- This device must be used only for the purpose for which a physician or healthcare professional has prescribed or authorized.
- This device must only be used by the person for whom the prescription or authorization has been written.
When used cranially to treat insomnia, depression and anxiety, 1 in 500 patients report a mild headache upon using the device.
Appoximately 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. Please watch the instructional video and read the instruction manual thoroughly before using the device. 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.
While the majority of patients will experience symptom reduction within the first two weeks of daily use (twice-daily is ideal), the recommended minimum treatment duration is four weeks. If depression, anxiety and/or insomnia symptoms go into full remission (no symptoms), patients may discontinue use of device until or unless symptoms return. If symptom reduction occurs within four weeks but symptoms do not go into full remission, patients may continue with daily use indefinitely until symptoms go into remission - there have been no reports of negative effects from long term use since the device first came to market in 1990. If patients do not experience symptom reduction at all after using the device daily for four weeks, they may return the device for a refund and should consult their physician to explore other treatment options.
Neurostimulation devices such as the Fisher Wallace Stimulator® are cleared by the FDA for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, depression and pain.
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is not cleared by the FDA for the treatment of depression, anxiety, insomnia or pain. tDCS was FDA approved in 2004 for Iontophoresis, which is a noninvasive method to deliver medicine or other chemicals through the skin with external patches and a small electrical charge. Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is not typically an at-home treatment modality, and as a result, can be very expensive because it often requires office visits and doctor supervision during treatment sessions. Insurance companies will not reimburse patients for purchasing or using tDCS for “off label” uses such as the treatment of depression.
The Fisher Wallace Stimulator is also FDA-Cleared to treat chronic and acute pain when the electrodes are applied to the body. Please download our chronic and acute pain instruction manual.
The electrical current is so gentle that many patients do not feel it at all, while some may feel a mild tingling at the sponge contact sites. Mild optic nerve stimulation may also occur, which may produce the sensation of flashing light in the corner of the eyes - this is normal and harmless.
The Fisher Wallace Stimulator® and ECT both deliver alternating current to the brain for therapeutic effect, but at vastly different doses. The Fisher Wallace Stimulator® provides very gentle stimulation therapy designed for daily home use without doctor supervision - it does not cause a seizure or serious side effects. ECT, while often effective, is performed in a hospital while the patient is under anesthesia and is designed to induce a seizure. ECT often causes memory loss. Following are more differences:
1. ECT delivers 800 – 1000+ mA of electricity, which causes a seizure.
The Fisher Wallace Stimulator® delivers 1 – 4 mA of electricity, which does not cause a seizure. In fact, the Fisher Wallace Stimulator® is recommended for treating substance abuse patients who are prone to seizures.
2. ECT is administered when a patient is under anesthesia.
The Fisher Wallace Stimulator® delivers such a mild current that patients typically wear it while reading a book, on the computer or watching TV. The stimulation from our device is rarely perceived and is not uncomfortable.
3. ECT delivers a large amount of electricity in a single dose.
The Fisher Wallace Stimulator® delivers a gentle amount of electricity on a daily basis.
4. ECT typically costs $30,000 and, while effective initially, its effects wear off.
The Fisher Wallace Stimulator® costs $599 and the effects do not wear off when the device is used on a regular basis.
5. ECT is indicated to treat severe depression.
The Fisher Wallace Stimulator® can be used to treat temporary or situational depression as well as chronic, severe depression. Our device has also been cleared by the FDA for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia and pain.
Yes. The device does not have any contraindications with medication.
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.
When being used to treat chronic pain (on the body), the device often reduces symptoms within a few treatment sessions.
Whereas pharmaceutical drugs must be FDA-Approved to enter the market, medical devices must be FDA-Cleared. The Fisher Wallace Stimulator® is FDA-Cleared to treat depression, anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain.
If the green indicator light AND at least one yellow light are illuminated, the device is delivering stimulation. If there is no yellow light illuminated, the sponges may not be sufficiently moist, or the batteries may need to be replaced.
Over 10,000 licensed providers have prescribed the Fisher Wallace Stimulator® and more than 50,000 patients have used our device.
Resting quietly is best, but one can engage in activities such as reading, watching TV, using the computer, or talking on the phone during a treatment session.
The FDA requires that a licensed provider authorize your purchase. The authorization may be obtained via a telemedicine provider or your personal physician.
Ideally, you should use the device twice a day for 20 minutes until your symptoms go into remission. If you no longer have symptoms, you can stop using the device and then renew treatment if the symptoms return. The device has been on the market for decades without any reports of long-term negative effects. Many patients have used the device for years.
You may purchase sponges, wires and other accessories here.
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.
Our industry-leading refund policy allows patients to return their Fisher Wallace Stimulator® for a refund within 30 days of receipt. Fisher Wallace applies a return fee of 10% of the full retail price to cover the cost of medical device processing, and does not refund the cost of shipping. Refund checks are mailed within five weeks following receipt of an undamaged device.
To request a return, please click here.
The FDA only allows Fisher Wallace to market its products to patients over the age of 21. However, if a licensed physician prescribes the device to a patient under the age of 21, we are allowed to fulfill the order.
If we have an authorization on file, the device will ship via FedEx on the same or next business day. You may track your package via the FedEx link that is emailed to you after purchasing the device.
Yes. The Fisher Wallace Stimulator is cleared by the FDA for the treatment of depression, anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain.
Select during checkout and use PayPal Credit to buy a device - no payments are due for six months. You may return the device for a refund within 30 days of receipt.