Personalization of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder According to the Existing Psychiatric Comorbidity


Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience. 19 (2) (pp 190-205), 2021. Date of Publication: May 2021.

Chou P.-H.; Lin Y.-F.; Lu M.-K.; Chang H.-A.; Chu C.-S.; Chang W.H.; Kishimoto T.; Sack A.T.; Su K.-P.

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and intermittent theta-burst stimulation (iTBS) are evidenced-based treatments for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who fail to respond to standard first-line therapies. However, although various TMS protocols have been proven to be clinically effective, the response rate varies across clinical applications due to the heterogeneity of real-world psychiatric comorbidities, such as generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, or substance use disorder, which are often observed in patients with MDD. Therefore, individualized treatment approaches are important to increase treatment response by assigning a given patient to the most optimal TMS treatment protocol based on his or her individual profile. This literature review summarizes different rTMS or TBS protocols that have been applied in researches investigating MDD patients with certain psychiatric comorbidities and discusses biomarkers that may be used to predict rTMS treatment response. Furthermore, we highlight the need for the validation of neuroimaging and electrophysiological biomarkers associated with rTMS treatment responses. Finally, we discuss on which directions future efforts should focus for developing the personalization of the treatment of depression with rTMS or iTBS.