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

Psychol Med. 2003 Jan;33(1):33-40. doi: 10.1017/s0033291702006839.


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

Method: Nineteen medication-resistant depressed subjects were randomly assigned to 3 weeks of active or sham rTMS. Effects on mood and neuropsychological function were assessed.

Results: Both groups improved significantly in mood over the 3 weeks, but there was no significant difference between active and sham treatments. There were no significant neuropsychological effects.

Conclusions: Bilateral rTMS was not superior to sham in treating resistant depression in this pilot study, but caused no neuropsychological impairment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / physiopathology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Resistance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents