A Study of the Pattern of Response to rTMS Treatment in Depression
Fitzgerald PB; Hoy KE; Anderson RJ; Daskalakis ZJ.
Depression & Anxiety. 33(8):746-53, 2016 Aug.
Considerable research has demonstrated the efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) treatment in patients with depression. However, limited research has described the pattern of response to rTMS treatment or explored possible predictors of the likelihood of treatment response.
Data from 11 clinical trials (n = 1,132) was pooled and we described the pattern of response to rTMS, rate of response, and remission as well as potential clinical and demographic predictors of response.
There was a bimodal pattern of response to rTMS with the response-associated peak at 57% reduction in depression rating scale scores. About 46% of patients achieved response criteria, with 31% completing rTMS treatment in remission. A greater likelihood of response was seen for patients who had less severe depression at baseline, a shorter duration of the current episode, and recurrent rather than single episode of depression. Greater response was also seen in patients treated at higher stimulation intensity.
A meaningful percentage (>40%) of patients respond to a course of rTMS treatment. Response does vary with a number of clinical and demographic variables but none of these variables exert a sufficiently strong influence on response rates to warrant using these criteria to exclude patients from treatment.