Double-blind controlled investigation of transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of resistant major depression

Am J Psychiatry. 1999 Jun;156(6):946-8. doi: 10.1176/ajp.156.6.946.


Objective: The efficacy and safety of left prefrontal repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for treating resistant major depression were examined in a double-blind, controlled study.

Method: Eighteen medication-resistant depressed subjects were randomly assigned to 2 weeks of real or sham rTMS, then permitted up to 4 weeks of real rTMS. Effects on mood, neuropsychological function, EEG, and hearing were assessed.

Results: The groups receiving real and sham rTMS improved in mood significantly over the 2-week double-blind period, but there was no significant difference between groups.

Conclusions: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation did not provide significantly greater improvement than did sham treatment. A 4-week course of rTMS, as administered in this study, was safe.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data
  • Hearing / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome