Clinical review: The therapeutic use of theta-burst stimulation in mental disorders and tinnitus

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2019 Jun 8:92:285-300. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2019.01.014. Epub 2019 Jan 29.


Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a neuromodulatory treatment intervention, which can be used to alleviate symptoms of mental disorders. Theta-burst stimulation (TBS), an advanced, patterned form of TMS, features several advantages regarding applicability, treatment duration and neuroplastic effects. This clinical review summarizes TBS studies in mental disorders and tinnitus and discusses effectivity and future directions of clinical TBS research. Following the PRISMA guidelines, the authors included 47 studies published until July 2018. Particularly in depression, evidence for the effectiveness of TBS and non-inferiority to conventional rTMS exists. Evidence for therapeutic efficacy of TBS in other mental disorders remains weak due to a large heterogeneity between studies. Rigorous reporting standards and adequately powered controlled trials are indispensable to foster validity and translation into clinical use. Nevertheless, TBS remains a promising instrument to target maladaptive brain networks and to ameliorate psychiatric symptoms.

Keywords: Clinical review; Mental disorder; Non-invasive brain stimulation; Therapy; repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Theta Rhythm / physiology*
  • Tinnitus / therapy*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*