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Am J Psychiatry. 2019 Nov 1;176(11):931-938. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2019.18101180. Epub 2019 May 21.

Efficacy and Safety of Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Prospective Multicenter Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial.

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The School of Psychological Science, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel (Carmi); the Department of Life Sciences and the Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel (Carmi, Barnea-Ygael, Roth, Zangen); Advanced Mental Health Care, Inc., Palm Beach, Fla. (Tendler); the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles (Bystritsky); the Spectrum Neuroscience and Treatment Center, New York (Hollander); the Temerty Centre for Therapeutic Brain Intervention and the Campbell Family Research Institute, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Ontario (Blumberger, Daskalakis); the Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida, Gainesville (Ward); the Department of Psychiatry, Northwell Health, New York (Lapidus); the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health System, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York (Goodman); the Lindner Center of HOPE, Mason, Ohio (Casuto); the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati (Casuto); the Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, La Jolla (Feifel); the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel (Zohar).



Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic and disabling condition that often responds unsatisfactorily to pharmacological and psychological treatments. Converging evidence suggests a dysfunction of the cortical-striatal-thalamic-cortical circuit in OCD, and a previous feasibility study indicated beneficial effects of deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) targeting the medial prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex. The authors examined the therapeutic effect of dTMS in a multicenter double-blind sham-controlled study.


At 11 centers, 99 OCD patients were randomly allocated to treatment with either high-frequency (20 Hz) or sham dTMS and received daily treatments following individualized symptom provocation, for 6 weeks. Clinical response to treatment was determined using the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS), and the primary efficacy endpoint was the change in score from baseline to posttreatment assessment. Additional measures were response rates (defined as a reduction of ≥30% in YBOCS score) at the posttreatment assessment and after another month of follow-up.


Eighty-nine percent of the active treatment group and 96% of the sham treatment group completed the study. The reduction in YBOCS score among patients who received active dTMS treatment was significantly greater than among patients who received sham treatment (reductions of 6.0 points and 3.3 points, respectively), with response rates of 38.1% and 11.1%, respectively. At the 1-month follow-up, the response rates were 45.2% in the active treatment group and 17.8% in the sham treatment group. Significant differences between the groups were maintained at follow-up.


High-frequency dTMS over the medial prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex significantly improved OCD symptoms and may be considered as a potential intervention for patients who do not respond adequately to pharmacological and psychological interventions.


Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; TMS

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