Left Intermittent Theta Burst Stimulation Combined With Right Low Frequency rTMS as an Additional Treatment for Major Depression: A Retrospective Study

SOURCE: Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 64(4) (pp 364-369), 2022.

DATE OF PUBLICATION: July-August 2022.

AUTHORS: Mi Y.; Ji Y.; Lou Z.; Hou Y.; Ruan L.

BACKGROUND: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is an effective treatment for major depression (MD). We retrospectively analyzed the efficacy of intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) on the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) combined with low-frequency rTMS (LF-rTMS) on the right DLPFC as an additional therapy to standard medication treatment.

MATERIAL(S) AND METHOD(S): The study included 54 patients with MD who completed 10 courses (5 days per week) of rTMS as an add-on therapy. Thirty patients were treated in the combination group
(120% resting motor threshold; left DLPFC, iTBS, 600 stimuli + right DLPFC, 1-Hz rTMS, 600 stimuli), while 24 patients were in the high-frequency rTMS (HF-rTMS) group (120% resting motor threshold; left
DLPFC, 10-Hz rTMS, 3000 stimuli). The outcome was assessed based on the changes in scores of 24-item Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD-24) and 14-item Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA-14).

RESULT(S): Both depression and anxiety were significantly improved after 2 weeks of treatment by rTMS combined with medication. The combination of iTBS and LF-rTMS was significantly superior to HF-rTMS in improving the scores of HAMD-24 (P = 0.041) and HAMA-14 (P = 0.0095), and the response rate (P = 0.027).

CONCLUSION(S): The pilot study showed that the combination of iTBS and LF-rTMS may hold promise as a potentially effective alternative therapy for MD due to its efficacy and time-saving benefit. The preliminary results shed light on the study of the efficacy and acceptability of the combination of iTBS and LF-rTMS for MD.