A New Treatment Protocol of Combined High-Dose Levothyroxine and rTMS For The Treatment of Rapid-Cycling Bipolar Spectrum Disorders: A Cohort Evaluation of 55 Patients

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Medicine. 11(19) (no pagination), 2022. Article Number: 5830.


AUTHORS: Zamar A.C.; Kouimtsidis C.; Lulsegged A.; Roberts R.; Koutsomitros T.; Stahl D.

BACKGROUND: Bipolar spectrum disorders (BSD) are highly disabling, with rapid cycling being treatment resistant. High-dose levothyroxine (HDT) has been reported to be effective. Diagnosis is associated with mutations in thyroid-activating enzymes and cerebral transporter protein carrier.   Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has neuroplastic effects.

METHOD(S): We report data on 55 severely symptomatic patients with rapid-cycling BSD treated with a combination protocol of HDT and rTMS. Of the patients, 31 patients (56.4%) were female and 40 (72.7%) had at least one additional diagnosis.

RESULT(S): Patients were evaluated at three monthly intervals after acute treatment. Remission was measured using the Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS). The average number of medications prescribed was 1.8, with 32 patients (58.2%) needing only levothyroxine. The average dose of levothyroxine was 303.7 mcg (50 mcg-1000 mcg). A total of 53 patients were in remission (96.4%), with an average duration of 2.0 years. The SDS scores decreased significantly (Cohen’s d = 2.61 (95% C.I. 1.81 to 2.83, p < 0.001). One patient had reversible side effects. A total of 52 (94.3%) patients had Deiodinase 1 and 2 (DiO1/DiO2) or SLCO1C1 protein carrier gene mutations.

CONCLUSION(S): The data support the safety and acceptability of combined HDT/rTMS. Patients achieved long remissions with substantial improvements in quality of life.