Objectives: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has potential clinical application for symptomatic management in multiple sclerosis (MS). Repeated sessions are necessary in order to adequately evaluate a therapeutic effect. However, it is not feasible for many individuals with MS to visit clinic for treatment on a daily basis, and clinic delivery is also associated with substantial cost. We developed a research protocol to remotely supervise self- or proxy-administration for home delivery of tDCS using specially designed equipment and a telemedicine platform.
Materials and methods: We targeted ten treatment sessions across two weeks. Twenty participants (n = 20) diagnosed with MS (any subtype), ages 30 to 69 years with a range of disability (Expanded Disability Status Scale or EDSS scores of 1.0 to 8.0) were enrolled to test the feasibility of the remotely supervised protocol.
Results: Protocol adherence exceeded what has been observed in studies with clinic-based treatment delivery, with all but one participant (95%) completing at least eight of the ten sessions. Across a total of 192 supervised treatment sessions, no session required discontinuation and no adverse events were reported. The most common side effects were itching/tingling at the electrode site.
Conclusions: This remotely supervised tDCS protocol provides a method for safe and reliable delivery of tDCS for clinical studies in MS and expands patient access to tDCS.
Keywords: Feasibility; multiple sclerosis; remotely supervised; tDCS; telemedicine.
© 2016 International Neuromodulation Society.