Adjunctive Low-frequency Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation over the Right Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex in Patients with Treatment-resistant Obsessive-compulsive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2016 May 31;14(2):153-60. doi: 10.9758/cpn.2016.14.2.153.


Objective: The ratio of 2nd to 4th digit length (2D:4D) is a sexually dimorphic trait. Men have a relatively shorter second digit than fourth digit. This ratio is thought to be influenced by higher prenatal testosterone level or greater sensitivity to androgen. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between alcohol dependence and 2D:4D in a Korean sample and whether 2D:4D can be a biologic marker in alcohol dependence.

Objective: The present study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of low frequency (LF) repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Methods: Twenty-seven patients with treatment resistant OCD were randomly assigned to 3 week either active (n=14) or sham (n=13) rTMS. The active rTMS parameters consisted of 1 Hz, 20-minute trains (1,200 pulses/day) at 100% of the resting motor threshold (MT). OCD symptoms, mood, and anxiety were assessed at baseline and every week throughout the treatment period.

Results: A repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to evaluate changes on the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS). Our results revealed a significant reduction in YBOCS scores in the active group compared with the sham group after 3 weeks. Similarly, a repeated-measures ANOVA revealed significant effect of time and time×group interaction on scores on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Clinical Global Impression-Severity scale. There were no reports of any serious adverse effects following the active and sham rTMS treatments.

Conclusion: LF rTMS over the right DLPFC appeared to be superior to sham rTMS for relieving OCD symptoms and depression in patients with treatment-resistant OCD. Further trials with larger sample sizes should be conducted to confirm the present findings.

Keywords: Obsessive-compulsive disorder; Prefrontal cortex; Transcranial magnetic stimulation.