Is rTMS an effective therapeutic strategy that can be used to treat anxiety disorders?
OBJECTIVE The efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the right prefrontal cortex was studied in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) under double-blind, placebo-controlled conditions. METHOD Twenty-four patients with PTSD were randomly assigned to receive rTMS at low frequency (1 Hz) or high frequency (10 Hz) or sham rTMS in a double-blind design. Treatment was administered in 10 daily sessions over 2 weeks. Severity of PTSD, depression, and anxiety were blindly assessed before, during, and after completion of the treatment protocol. RESULTS The 10 daily treatments of 10-Hz rTMS at 80% motor threshold over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex had therapeutic effects on PTSD patients. PTSD core symptoms (reexperiencing, avoidance) markedly improved with this treatment. Moreover, high-frequency rTMS over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex alleviated anxiety symptoms in PTSD patients. CONCLUSIONS This double-blind, controlled trial suggests that in PTSD patients, 10 daily sessions of right dorsolateral prefrontal rTMS at a frequency of 10 Hz have greater therapeutic effects than slow-frequency or sham stimulation.