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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Treating Depression in Elderly Patients

Sayar GH, Ozten E, Tan O, Tarhan N. | April 15, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Hizli Sayar et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.
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PURPOSE:

The aim of the study reported here was to examine the safety and effectiveness of high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in elderly patients with depression.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Sixty-five depressed elderly patients received rTMS over their left prefrontal cortex for 6 days per week, from Monday to Saturday, for 3 weeks. The rTMS intensity was set at 100% of the motor threshold and 25 Hz stimulation with a duration of 2 seconds and was delivered 20 times at 30-second intervals. A full course comprised an average of 1000 magnetic pulses.

From Conclusion

“rTMS was found to be a safe, well-tolerated treatment, and a useful adjunctive treatment to medications in elderly treatment-resistant depressed patients.”

Depression was rated using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) before and after treatment. Response was defined as a 50% reduction in HAMD score. Patients with HAMD scores < 8 were considered to be in remission.

RESULTS:

The mean HAMD score for the study group decreased from 21.94 ± 5.12 before treatment to 11.28 ± 4.56 after rTMS (P < 0.001). Following the treatment period, 58.46% of the study group demonstrated significant mood improvement, as indexed by a reduction of more than 50% on the HAMD score. Nineteen of these 38 patients attained remission (HAMD score < 8), while 41.54% of all study patients achieved a partial response.

None of the patients had a worsened HAMD score at the end of the treatment. Treatment was generally well tolerated and no serious adverse effects were reported.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this study, rTMS was found to be a safe, well-tolerated treatment, and a useful adjunctive treatment to medications in elderly treatment-resistant depressed patients. This study contributes to the existing evidence on the antidepressant effect of rTMS in the treatment of depression in patients over 60 years of age.