Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for depression: outcomes in a United Kingdom (UK) clinical practice

Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract. 2019 Jun;23(2):122-127. doi: 10.1080/13651501.2018.1562077. Epub 2019 Mar 30.


Objective: The aim of this paper is to present the outcomes data from the largest United Kingdom's (UK) National Health Service (NHS) clinical rTMS service treating treatment resistant depression (TRD). Methods: The study was a retrospective investigation of routinely collected data on patients receiving rTMS between 2015 and 2017. Measures used were the clinician-rated Clinical Global Impression (CGI) and Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), and patient rated Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The outcome data of 73 patients with TRD were analysed. The sample included patients with co-morbid psychiatric diagnosis. Results: Response and remission rates, respectively, were 40.4% and 25.5% for the HAM-D; 35.6% and 20.8% for the BDI; and 51.1% and 52.1% for the CGI. Effect sizes were medium (0.54, 0.52 and 0.56, respectively). Conclusions: The results show that a UK-based clinical service achieves similar results to those published internationally and that clinical rTMS can have significant impact on symptoms of depression in many patients with TRD. Health services are under pressure to make financial savings, investment in rTMS could reduce the long-term treatment costs associated with TRD.

Keywords: Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS); naturalistic; service delivery; treatment-resistant depression.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Depressive Disorder, Treatment-Resistant / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Health Programs / statistics & numerical data
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / statistics & numerical data*
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult