High-Frequency Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of the Left Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex May Reduce Impulsivity in Patients With Methamphetamine Use Disorders: A Pilot Study

SOURCE: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 16 (no pagination), 2022. Article Number: 858465.


AUTHOR: Liu Q.; Xu X.; Cui H.; Zhang L.; Zhao Z.; Dong D.; Shen Y.

Individuals who use methamphetamine (MA) for a long period of time may experience decreased inhibition and increased impulsivity. In order to reduce impulsivity or improve inhibitory control ability, high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (HF-rTMS) has
attracted much attention of researchers. Recent studies on addiction have shown that rTMS can stimulate different brain regions to produce different therapeutic effects. Recent work also suggests that HF-rTMS over right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) does not affect the impulsivity of patients with alcohol use disorder; while HF-rTMS over left DLPFC could improve the impulsivity of patients with alcohol use disorder and cigarette smokers. However, it should be noted that empirical studies applying HF-rTMS over left DLPFC of patients with MA use disorders (MAUD) (to evaluate its effect on impulsivity) are still lacking.

METHOD(S): Twenty-nine patients with MAUD underwent five sessions of HF-rTMS on the left DLPFC per week for 4 consecutive weeks. The cue-induced craving and stop-signal and NoGo task were assessed pre-rTMS and post-rTMS (at the end of the 4-week rTMS treatment). In addition, 29 healthy controls were recruited. There was no rTMS intervention for the controls, the performance of the stop-signal and NoGo task was evaluated on them.

RESULT(S): In total, HF-rTMS of the left DLPFC significantly decreased MA-dependent patients’ cue-induced craving and stop-signal reaction time (SSRT). For SSRT, the pre-test of experimental group was significantly higher than the score of control group. In the experimental group, the pre-test score was significantly higher than the post-test score. For Go and stop-signal delay (SSD), the pre-test scores of the experimental group was significantly lower than the scores of the control group. No significant difference was found between the pre-test and the post-test scores of the experimental group.

CONCLUSION(S): Add-on HF-rTMS of left DLPFC may be an effective intervention for reducing impulsivity and cue-induced craving of patients with MAUD. Future research with a control group of MAUD that does not undergo the treatment is needed to confirm the effectiveness.