Consensus Recommendations for the Clinical Application of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) in the Treatment of Depression

J Clin Psychiatry. 2018 Jan/Feb;79(1):16cs10905. doi: 10.4088/JCP.16cs10905.


Objective: To provide expert recommendations for the safe and effective application of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD).

Participants: Participants included a group of 17 expert clinicians and researchers with expertise in the clinical application of rTMS, representing both the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC) rTMS Task Group and the American Psychiatric Association Council on Research (APA CoR) Task Force on Novel Biomarkers and Treatments.

Evidence: The consensus statement is based on a review of extensive literature from 2 databases (OvidSP MEDLINE and PsycINFO) searched from 1990 through 2016. The search terms included variants of major depressive disorder and transcranial magnetic stimulation. The results were limited to articles written in English that focused on adult populations. Of the approximately 1,500 retrieved studies, a total of 118 publications were included in the consensus statement and were supplemented with expert opinion to achieve consensus recommendations on key issues surrounding the administration of rTMS for MDD in clinical practice settings.

Consensus process: In cases in which the research evidence was equivocal or unclear, a consensus decision on how rTMS should be administered was reached by the authors of this article and is denoted in the article as "expert opinion."

Conclusions: Multiple randomized controlled trials and published literature have supported the safety and efficacy of rTMS antidepressant therapy. These consensus recommendations, developed by the NNDC rTMS Task Group and APA CoR Task Force on Novel Biomarkers and Treatments, provide comprehensive information for the safe and effective clinical application of rTMS in the treatment of MDD.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Consensus
  • Contraindications
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / adverse effects
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*