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Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment of elderly patients with depression – an open label trial

Authors Gaby Abraham, Roumen Milev, Lauren Lazowski, Ruzica Jokic, Regina du Toit, et al

Published 15 January 2008 Volume 2007:3(6) Pages 919—924


Gaby Abraham, Roumen Milev, Lauren Lazowski, Ruzica Jokic, Regina du Toit, Alan Lowe

Mood and Anxiety Program, Centre of Addiction and Mental Health Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Background: RTMS has been developed as a novel tool for treating depression but the clinical significance of this treatment has been variable, especially in the older depressed subjects.

Methods: Medication-resistant depressed patients 60 years or older were treated for two weeks (10 sessions) with high-frequency rTMS delivered to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex at 100% of motor threshold. Each session consisted of 20 trains at 10Hz delivered in 8-second duration. The patients continued taking their psychotropic medications throughout the study.

Results: Nineteen of the 20 subjects completed the trial. One subject dropped out after 8 sessions because of discomfort. The average age of our patients was 66.8 years (6 males and 14 females). Six patients responded and there was a 31.6% mean reduction in Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) scores from baseline at the end of the treatment. There was statistically significant decrease from baseline in both HDRS and HARS scores at the end of treatment. rTMS was generally well tolerated.

Conclusion: These preliminary finding suggests that rTMS may be an effective treatment alternative to a subpopulation of medication resistant older depressed patients.

Keywords: transcranial magnetic stimulation, depressed elderly

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