Objective: The efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the right prefrontal cortex was studied in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) under double-blind, placebo-controlled conditions.
Method: Twenty-four patients with PTSD were randomly assigned to receive rTMS at low frequency (1 Hz) or high frequency (10 Hz) or sham rTMS in a double-blind design. Treatment was administered in 10 daily sessions over 2 weeks. Severity of PTSD, depression, and anxiety were blindly assessed before, during, and after completion of the treatment protocol.
Results: The 10 daily treatments of 10-Hz rTMS at 80% motor threshold over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex had therapeutic effects on PTSD patients. PTSD core symptoms (reexperiencing, avoidance) markedly improved with this treatment. Moreover, high-frequency rTMS over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex alleviated anxiety symptoms in PTSD patients.
Conclusions: This double-blind, controlled trial suggests that in PTSD patients, 10 daily sessions of right dorsolateral prefrontal rTMS at a frequency of 10 Hz have greater therapeutic effects than slow-frequency or sham stimulation.