Antidepressant Effectiveness of Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS) in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) With or Without Alcohol Use Disorders (AUDs): A 6-Month, Open Label, Follow-up Study

Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders 174:57-63 (2015)

Authors: C Rapinesi, M Curto, G.D Kotzalidis, A Del Casale, D Serata, V.R Ferri, S.D Pietro, P Scaneta, F.S Bersani, R.N Raccah, V. Diglacomantonio, S Ferracuti, G Bersani, A Zangen, G Angeletti, P Girardi


Co-occurrence of Major Depressive (MDD) and Alcohol Use Disorders (AUDs) is frequent, causing more burden than each disorder separately. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is critically involved in both mood and reward and dysfunctional in both conditions.


The investigators aimed to evaluate the effects of dTMS stimulation of bilateral DLPFC with left prevalence in patients with MDD with or without concomitant AUD.


Twelve MDD patients and 11 with concomitant MDD and AUD (MDD+AUD) received 20 dTMS sessions. Clinical status was assessed through the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and the Clinical Global Impressions severity scale (CGIs), craving through the Obsessive-Compulsive Drinking Scale (OCDS) in MDD+AUD, and functioning with the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF).


There were no significant differences between the two groups in socio-demographic (age, sex, years of education and duration of illness) and baseline clinical characteristics, including scores on assessment scales. Per cent drops on HDRS and CGIs scores at the end of the sessions were respectively 62.6% and 78.2% for MDD+AUD, and 55.2% and 67.1% for MDD (p<0.001). HDRS, CGIs and GAF scores remained significantly improved after the 6-month follow-up. HDRS scores dropped significantly earlier in MDD+AUD than in MDD.


High frequency bilateral DLPFC dTMS with left preference was well tolerated and effective inpatients with MDD, with or without AUD. The antidepressant effect of dTMS is not affected by alcohol abuse inpatients with depressive episodes. The potential use of dTMS for mood modulation as an adjunct to treatment in patients with a depressive episode,with or without alcohol abuse, deserves further investigation.

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