Accelerated theta burst stimulation for the treatment of depression: A randomised controlled trial

Leo Chen, Elizabeth H.X. Thomas, Pakin Kaewpijit, Aleksandra Miljevic, Rachel Hughes, Lisa Hahn, Yuko Kato, Shane Gill, Patrick Clarke, Felicity Ng, Tom Paterson, Andrew Giam, Shanthi Sarma, Kate E. Hoy, Cherrie Galletly, Paul B. Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Theta burst pattern repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TBS) is increasingly applied to treat depression. TBS's brevity is well-suited to application in accelerated schedules. Sizeable trials of accelerated TBS are lacking; and optimal TBS parameters such as stimulation intensity are not established. Methods: We conducted a three arm, single blind, randomised, controlled, multi-site trial comparing accelerated bilateral TBS applied at 80 % or 120 % of the resting motor threshold and left unilateral 10 Hz rTMS. 300 patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) were recruited. TBS arms applied 20 bilateral prefrontal TBS sessions over 10 days, while the rTMS arm applied 20 daily sessions of 10 Hz rTMS to the left prefrontal cortex over 4 weeks. Primary outcome was depression treatment response at week 4. Results: The overall treatment response rate was 43.7 % and the remission rate was 28.2 %. There were no significant differences for response (p = 0.180) or remission (p = 0.316) across the three groups. Response rates between accelerated bilateral TBS applied at sub- and supra-threshold intensities were not significantly different (p = 0.319). Linear mixed model analysis showed a significant effect of time (p < 0.01), but not rTMS type (p = 0.680). Conclusion: This is the largest accelerated bilateral TBS study to date and provides evidence that it is effective and safe in treating TRD. The accelerated application of TBS was not associated with more rapid antidepressant effects. Bilateral sequential TBS did not have superior antidepressant effect to unilateral 10 Hz rTMS. There was no significant difference in antidepressant efficacy between sub- and supra-threshold accelerated bilateral TBS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1095-1105
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Stimulation
Volume14
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Accelerated
  • Depression
  • Intensive
  • Theta burst stimulation
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Treatment-resistant depression

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