Comparative Efficacy and Acceptability of Neuromodulation Procedures in the Treatment of Treatment-Resistant Depression: A Network Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials [Review]

Journal of Affective Disorders. 287:115-124, 2021 05 15.

Li H; Cui L; Li J; Liu Y; Chen Y Abstract

Nearly half of the patients with depression experience suboptimal benefits from antidepressants. Neuromodulation therapies, a kind of technology that can regulate neuronal firing activity by electrical or magnetic stimulation, were introduced to improve this situation. However, the results from clinical trials have been inconsistent.

We followed the extension of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement to perform this network meta-analysis (NMA). The results were evaluated by relative risk (RR) for the response, remission, and discontinuation rates.

In total, 49 trials with 2,941 patients were included in this study. Bilateral theta burst stimulation (TBS, RR 5.00, 95% CI 1.11-22.44), priming transcranial magnetic stimulation (pTMS, RR 2.97, 95% CI 1.20-7.39), low-frequency right repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) (LFR-rTMS, RR 2.62, 95% CI 1.56-4.39), high-frequency left repetitive TMS (HFL-rTMS, RR 2.18, 95% CI 1.52-3.13), and bilateral repetitive TMS (BL-rTMS, RR 3.08, 95% CI 1.78-5.31) were demonstrated to have higher response rates than sham control. BL-rTMS (RR 3.12, 95% CI 1.06-9.09) was found to have a higher response rate than deep brain stimulation in this NMA. All measures had the non-inferiority acceptability than the sham-control. BL-rTMS was more acceptable than bitemporal ECT (BT-ECT, RR 0.18, 95% CI 0.03-0.89), while pTMS was more acceptable than BT-ECT (RR 0.08, 95% CI 0.01-0.55), HFL-rTMS (RR 0.34, 95% CI 0.12-0.93), and deep TMS (RR 0.15, 95% CI 0.02-0.96).

Besides electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), rTMS, priming TMS, and bilateral TBS proved effective for patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). BL-rTMS showed high efficacy and acceptability, and bilateral TBS had the potential to be the most efficacious neuromodulation measures.