rTMS for Adolescent Depression

January 26, 2011 · Posted in Potential Treatments 

In an abstract presented at the 65th Annual Scientific Convention of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, Christopher Wall reported that treatment with rTMS (10 Hz at 120% of motor threshold) was successful in the treatment of adolescent depression.

These data from an open (as opposed to blind) study deserve further and more systematic investigation. Alternatives to antidepressant drug treatment are desirable for adolescents with depression since increases in suicidal ideation are a potential side effect during the first two months after initiation of pharmacological antidepressant treatment in teens. (Suicidal ideation and actions among adolescents decrease with longer-term antidepressant treatment, especially when it is used in conjunction with cognitive/behavioral psychotherapy.) Children and adolescents treated with antidepressants may also be at higher risk for switching into mania than adults treated with antidepressants.

Editor’s Note: The rTMS parameters used in this study are the same as those used successfully in adults with depression in the two large positive multi-center sham-controlled studies (one by industry and one by the National Institute of Mental Health) mentioned in yesterday’s article.

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