Use of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Child Psychiatry

SOURCE: Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience. 19(4-6) (pp 11-22), 2022.


AUTHOR: Bejenaru A.M.; Malhi N.K.

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a noninvasive diagnostic and therapeutic technique that has showed benefits in various psychiatric disorders. Although there is a large body of literature available on its use in adult populations, existing research in pediatric populations is very limited. Current research has primarily focused on its use in adolescent treatment-resistant depression. However, recently, rTMS has gained attention among researchers to find its utility in other neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), tics, and psychosis. There is a lack of systematic data on the safety of rTMS in children and adolescents. The aim of this article was to present an overview of the existing literature on the use of rTMS in children and adolescents and examine the relevant safety considerations.

METHOD(S): We conducted a literature review of the English literature in PubMed on TMS in children and adolescents, using comprehensive search terms and expanding our review to include sources cited by these reports. We reviewed the application of rTMS in psychiatric disorders in the pediatric population.

RESULT(S): rTMS has been used for depression and anxiety disorders, OCD, ADHD, Tourette syndrome/tics, ASD, and schizophrenia, with variable results.

CONCLUSION(S): rTMS is a promising treatment in children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders, although larger, sham-controlled, randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) will be required to definitely demonstrate efficacy, as well as to support a safety profile.