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J Clin Psychiatry. 2004 Oct;65(10):1323-8.

A 3-month, follow-up, randomized, placebo-controlled study of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in depression.

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Department of Psychiatry, St. Lucas Andreas Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



There is evidence for an antidepressant effect of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), but little is known about posttreatment course. Therefore, we conducted a placebo-controlled, double-blind study in depressed patients in order to investigate the effect of rTMS on depression over 12 weeks after completion of the 2-week stimulation period.


55 patients with a moderate or severe DSM-IV major depressive episode were randomly assigned to rTMS or sham treatment. rTMS was given daily for 10 days over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex with the following treatment parameters: 20 Hz, 20 trains of 2 seconds, 30 seconds between trains, and 80% motor threshold. The effect of rTMS on depression was rated repeatedly with the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) during the 2-week period of stimulation and the 12-week follow-up period conducted from 1997 to 2001.


We found a modest, clinically nonrelevant decrease in HAM-D scores in both rTMS and sham patients over 2 weeks of treatment. However, over the subsequent 12-week follow-up, the rTMS group continued to improve significantly compared with the placebo group.


Decrease of depressive symptoms may continue after the cessation of rTMS stimulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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