Prefrontal repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation as add on treatment in depression

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2001 Oct;71(4):546-8. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.71.4.546.


A growing number of studies report antidepressant effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in patients with major depression. The hypothesis that high frequency (20 Hz) rTMS (HF-rTMS) may speed up and strengthen the therapeutic response to sertraline in MD was tested. Twenty eight patients who had not yet received medication for the present depressive episode (n=12) or had failed a single trial of an antidepressant medication (n=16) were started on sertraline and randomised to receive either real of sham HF-rTMS. HF-rTMS was applied to the left dorsolateral prefrontal area in daily sessions (30 trains of 2 s, 20-40 s intertrain interval, at 90% motor threshold) on 10 consecutive working days. The results suggest that in this patient population, HF-rTMS does not add efficacy over the use of standard antidepressant medication.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / physiopathology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Sertraline / administration & dosage


  • Sertraline