To study the safety and patients’ tolerance of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the major depressive disorder population.
Our study followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. We searched the literature published before April 30th, 2021 and performed a random-effects meta-analyses which included drop-out due to adverse events, serious adverse events and other non-serious adverse events as primary and secondary outcomes.
A total of 53 randomized sham-controlled trials with 3,273 participants were included. There was no increased risk of drop-out due to an adverse event (active TMS intervention group=3.3%, sham TMS intervention group=2.3%, odds ratio = 1.30, 95% CI= 0.78-2.16, P= 0.31) or a serious adverse event (active TMS intervention group=0.9%, sham TMS intervention group=1.5%, odds ratio = 0.67, 95% CI= 0.29-1.55, P= 0.35). Our findings suggest that TMS intervention may significantly increase the risk of non-serious adverse events including: headaches (active TMS intervention group=22.6%, sham TMS intervention group=16.2%, odds ratio = 1.48, 95% CI= 1.15-1.91, P= 0.002), discomfort (active TMS intervention group=10.9%, sham TMS intervention group=5.0%, odds ratio 1.98, 95% CI= 1.22-3.21, P= 0.006) and pain (active TMS intervention group=23.8%, sham TMS intervention group=5.2%, odds ratio= 8.09, 95% CI= 4.71-13.90, P < 0.001) at the stimulation site, but these non-serious events were mostly mild and transient after TMS treatment.
These findings provide evidence for the safety and patients’ tolerance of transcranial magnetic stimulation technique as an alternative monotherapy or as an add-on treatment for major depressive disorder.

Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier B.V.