The following is a summary of “Maintenance repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) therapy for treatment-resistant depression: a study protocol of a multisite, prospective, non-randomized longitudinal study,” published in the June 2023 issue of Psychiatry by Yamazaki et al.
For a study, researchers aimed to explore whether the maintenance of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) treatment can help patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) with a large sample size. rTMS is a standard treatment option for MDD patients, and its effectiveness has been examined earlier for relapse/recurrence of MDD in a small sample size.
The study enrolled 300 patients with MDD who received rTMS therapy and got better. Further, these patients were divided into two groups: one with maintenance rTMS and a pharmacotherapy group, and the second was pharmacotherapy only. The first group, the rTMS group, followed a once-in-a-week therapy for six months and every two weeks for another six months. The primary endpoint was to analyze relapse/recurrence rates during these 12 months. In contrast, depressive symptoms and recurrence/relapse rates at different times were the secondary endpoints. Various methods were used to compare groups and ensure reliable results.
The study suggested that maintenance rTMS therapy could have been an effective and safe approach to prevent depressive relapse/recurrence. To mitigate potential biases stemming from the study design, they planned to use statistical techniques and external data to avoid overestimating the treatment’s efficacy.