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Randomized sham-controlled trial of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in treatment-resistant obsessive–compulsive disorder

Mantovani, Antonio; Simpson, Helen B.; Fallon, Brian A.; Rossi, Simone; Lisanby, Sarah H.

In open trials, 1-Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to the supplementary motor area (SMA) improved symptoms and normalized cortical hyper-excitability of patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Here we present the results of a randomized sham-controlled double-blind study. Medication-resistant OCD patients (n=21) were assigned 4 wk either active or sham rTMS to the SMA bilaterally. rTMS parameters consisted of 1200 pulses/d, at 1 Hz and 100% of motor threshold (MT). Eighteen patients completed the study. Response to treatment was defined as a ≽25% decrease on the Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS). Non-responders to sham and responders to active or sham rTMS were offered four additional weeks of open active rTMS. After 4 wk, the response rate in the completer sample was 67% (6/9) with active and 22% (2/9) with sham rTMS. At 4 wk, patients receiving active rTMS showed on average a 25% reduction in the YBOCS compared to a 12% reduction in those receiving sham. In those who received 8-wk active rTMS, OCD symptoms improved from 28.2±5.8 to 14.5±3.6. In patients randomized to active rTMS, MT measures on the right hemisphere increased significantly over time. At the end of 4-wk rTMS the abnormal hemispheric laterality found in the group randomized to active rTMS normalized. The results of the first randomized sham-controlled trial of SMA stimulation in the treatment of resistant OCD support further investigation into the potential therapeutic applications of rTMS in this disabling condition.


Also Published In

The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology

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April 21, 2014