Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) improves symptoms and reduces clinical illness in patients suffering from OCD--Results from a single-blind, randomized clinical trial with sham cross-over condition

J Psychiatr Res. 2015 Sep;68:238-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.06.020. Epub 2015 Jul 2.


Objectives: Both psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacological methods are used in the treatment of patients suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD), and both with encouraging but also mixed results. Here, we tested the hypothesis that repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) improves symptoms and reduces illness severity in patients suffering from treatment-resistant OCD.

Methods: A total of 21 patients (57% females; mean age: M = 35.8 years) suffering from treatment-resistant OCD were randomly assigned either to an rTMS-first-sham-second, or a sham-first-rTMS-second condition. Treatment sessions lasted for 4 weeks with five sessions per week, each of about 50 min duration. Symptoms were assessed via both self- and expert-ratings.

Results: Both self- and expert-reported symptom severity reduced in the rTMS condition as compared to the sham condition. Full- and partial responses were observed in the rTMS-condition, but not in the sham-condition.

Conclusions: The pattern of results from this single-blind, sham- and cross-over design suggests that rTMS is a successful intervention for patients suffering from treatment-resistant OCD.

Keywords: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS); Sham-condition.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / therapy*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Patient Outcome Assessment
  • Placebos
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*


  • Placebos

Associated data

  • IRCT/IRCT201308041743N11