Addressing the needs of adolescents with treatment resistant depressive disorders: a systematic review of rTMS

Amy Donaldson, Michael Solomon Gordon, Glenn Alexander Melvin, David Anthony Barton, Paul Bernard Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Background Depressive disorders are among the most commonly experienced mental health concerns and a leading cause of mortality in adolescence. Current treatment guidelines recommend the use of antidepressant medication, cognitive behavioral therapy or both treatments. Unfortunately 40-60 of adolescents fail to respond to these treatments, therefore a new effective alternative treatment modality would be of particular benefit. rTMS is effective in addressing treatment resistant depression in adults and investigation into its effectiveness with adolescent populations has begun. Objective To examine the existing literature regarding the efficacy and safety of rTMS treatment with adolescents experiencing depressive symptoms, especially research conducted since the last published review. Methods A systematic review was conducted in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. The databases of OVID PsycINFO, PubMed, Ovid Medline and Web of Science were searched for research utilizing rTMS treatment with adolescents experiencing depressive symptomology. Results The review identified seven studies that examined rTMS as a treatment for depressive symptomology in adolescence. Findings indicate rTMS is likely to be an effective treatment for young people with preliminary longitudinal results suggesting maintenance of effects 3 years post-treatment. Reported side effects have included headaches, scalp discomfort and single incidences of hypomania and seizure. All side effects were transitory and did not recur. Conclusion Preliminary results suggest rTMS is an effective and well tolerated antidepressant treatment for adolescents with treatment resistant depressive symptomology. Further research allowing for comparison across studies is necessary to establish the efficacy of rTMS in adolescent depression
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7 - 12
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Stimulation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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