Safety and Efficacy of Accelerated Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Protocol in Elderly Depressed Unipolar and Bipolar Patients
American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 27(5):548-558, 2019 05.
Desbeaumes Jodoin V; Miron JP; Lesperance P.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a prevalent condition in older adults. Although antidepressant drugs are commonly prescribed, efficacy is variable, and older patients are more prone to side effects. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is an alternative therapy used increasingly in the treatment of MDD. Even though recent studies have shown efficacy of rTMS in elderly depressed patients, the safety and efficacy of accelerated rTMS has not been studied in this population.
Data were retrospectively analyzed for adults with treatment-resistant depression (N=73, n=19 >=60 years, n=54 <60 years) who underwent an accelerated protocol of 30 sessions (2 sessions per day) of left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex high-frequency (20 Hz) rTMS.
There were statistically significant improvements in depression and anxiety symptoms from baseline to post-treatment in both age groups, but those 60 years and older showed statistically greater improvement in depression and anxiety symptom scores (p=0.01) than those less than 60. There were significantly more responders (p=0.001) and remitters (p=0.023) in the older group. The age groups did not differ significantly in clinical and demographic characteristics or severity of current depressive episode, although baseline anxiety was less severe in those 60years and older. Unipolar and bipolar patients had a similar clinical response, and treatment appeared to be well tolerated by all patients.
Our results suggest that accelerated rTMS protocol is a safe and effective treatment for unipolar and bipolar depressed subjects, including older adults.