Background: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has shown safety and efficacy for treatment-resistant depression, but requires daily treatment for 4-6 weeks. Accelerated TMS, with all treatments delivered over a few days, would have significant advantages in terms of access and patient acceptance.
Methods: Open-label accelerated TMS (aTMS), consisting of 15 rTMS sessions administered over 2 days, was tested in 14 depressed patients not responding to at least one antidepressant medication. Effects on depression, anxiety, and cognition were assessed the day following treatment, then after 3 and 6 weeks.
Results: No seizure activity was observed and only one patient had a serious adverse event (increased suicidal ideation). Two patients failed to complete a full course of aTMS treatments, and 36% did not complete all study visits. Depression and anxiety significantly decreased following aTMS treatments and improvements persisted 3 and 6 weeks later. Response rates immediately following treatment and at 3 and 6 weeks were 43, 36, and 36%, respectively. Remission rates at the same timepoints were 29, 36, and 29%.
Conclusions: Accelerated TMS demonstrated an excellent safety profile with efficacy comparable to that achieved in daily rTMS in other trials. Limitations primarily include open-label treatment and a small sample size.
Depression and Anxiety, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.