A double blind randomized trial of unilateral left and bilateral prefrontal cortex transcranial magnetic stimulation in treatment resistant major depression

Paul Bernard Fitzgerald, Kate Elizabeth Hoy, Sally Elizabeth Herring, Susan Ann McQueen, Amy Peachey, Rebecca Anne Segrave, Jerome Joseph Maller, Phillip Jeremy Hall, Zafiris Jeff Daskalakis

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A substantive body of research has demonstrated the efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment (rtms) in patients with depression. However, the parameters needed to optimize therapeutic efficacy remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate whether there is an advantage in efficacy of sequential bilateral rtms compared to standard high-frequency left sided rtms. Sixty seven patients with treatment resistant depression were included in a randomised double-blind sham controlled trial of sequential bilateral rTMS compared to standard high-frequency left sided rtms and sham rTMS over a three-week period. The study also included a further three week comparison of the two active treatment conditions. The primary outcome variable was scores on the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (hamd). In the three-week double-blind phase of the trial there was a greater antidepressant response to unilateral left sided rtms compared with sham or bilateral rtms. Across the full six weeks of active rtms, there was also a consistent pattern of improved response in unilateral left compared to bilateral treatment. Response rates were low in both active groups. This study does not support the hypothesis that sequential bilateral rtms is more effective than unilateral high-frequency left-sided rtms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193 - 198
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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