There is growing interest worldwide in rTMS as a clinical treatment for depression. Apart from efficacy, its safety as a clinical treatment must be considered before its widespread use can be advocated. All published, sham-controlled rTMS depression trials were reviewed for reported side-effects and outcomes of formal neuropsychological testing. In addition, all reports of seizures occurring with rTMS were reviewed. Other safety concerns (effects on hearing; headache, pain, induced currents in electrical circuits, histotoxicity, electromagnetic field exposure, psychiatric complications, safety in pregnancy) are discussed. Common side-effects were of a minor nature, e.g. headache. There was a low incidence of accidental seizures and induced hypomania, both of which were associated with identified risk factors for which subjects should be screened. Long-term effects of repeated rTMS sessions are as yet unknown. When given within recommended guidelines, the overall safety profile of rTMS is good, and supports its further development as a clinical treatment.