Establishing an effective TMS protocol for craving in substance addiction: Is it possible?

Am J Addict. 2016 Jan;25(1):28-30. doi: 10.1111/ajad.12309. Epub 2015 Dec 21.


Background and objectives: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive tool with known therapeutic efficacy in various neuropsychiatric disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia, mania, and anxiety disorders. We hereby, briefly present a brief review and meta-analysis on the use of TMS for craving in substance addiction.

Methods: We present our brief review and meta-analysis following the recommendations of the Cochrane group. A total of eight randomized controlled trials fulfilled eligibility criteria and were selected. A total of 199 patients were studied.

Results: We found active stimulation to be superior than sham protocols only for trials focused on right DLPFC (with Hedge's g = 1.48; ES (95%CI: 0.126-2.834), p = 0.032.

Discussion and scientific significance: Main meta-analysis limitations include small number of studies, high heterogeneity among studies, and high publication bias. However challenging, our exploratory analysis underscored the amelioration of craving in substance addiction for trials using high frequency TMS protocols over the right DLPFC. We hereby, propose the use of this particular TMS protocol as a promising tool in clinical research.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Craving*
  • Humans
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*