A sham controlled study of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for posttraumatic stress disorder

Brain Stimul. 2012 Jan;5(1):38-43. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2011.02.002. Epub 2011 Mar 3.


Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a commonly occurring and often debilitating psychiatric condition. There currently is not definitive information regarding the efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for PTSD.

Objective: This study seeks to examine the efficacy of rTMS for PTSD.

Methods: Twenty subjects with PTSD were randomly assigned to receive either 10 rTMS sessions delivered at 1 Hz to the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPRC) or 10 sham rTMS sessions to the same area. A blinded rater assessed PTSD, depressive, anxiety, and neurocognitive symptoms before treatment, after the treatment series, and during a 2-month follow-up period.

Results: Trancranial magnetic stimulation delivered at 1 Hz to the right DLPRC resulted in statistically and clinically significant improvements in core PTSD symptoms and depressive symptoms compared with sham treatments. The effectiveness showed some degradation during the 2 months after treatments were stopped.

Conclusions: This blinded sham controlled trial supports the efficacy of 10 sessions of right DLPRC rTMS delivered at 1 Hz for the treatment of PTSD symptoms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / physiopathology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome