Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for treating major depression and schizophrenia: a systematic review of recent meta-analyses

Ann Med. 2013 Jun;45(4):308-21. doi: 10.3109/07853890.2013.783993. Epub 2013 May 20.


Background: In recent years, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has been developed for the treatment of major depression (MD) and schizophrenia. Although rTMS has shown some promising findings, the lack of standardization in the methodology employed has resulted in discordant findings.

Objectives: The objective of this systematic review was to summarize several meta-analytical studies exploring the efficacy of rTMS in either MD or schizophrenia in order to examine the methodologies that increase the efficacy of rTMS and to provide some recommendations for future studies.

Methods: We searched the MEDLINE database for potentially relevant meta-analytic studies on the use of rTMS for treating major depression and schizophrenia published from January 2000 to October 2011.

Results: Fifteen rTMS meta-analytical studies were reviewed (11 on MD and 5 on schizophrenia). Several variables were reviewed including outcome measures, side-effects of rTMS, site of stimulation, frequency and intensity of stimulation, and number of treatment sessions.

Conclusions: Overall, rTMS appears to be an effective and promising therapeutic for both MD and schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Research Design
  • Schizophrenia / therapy*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome