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Looking at novelties and advances in medicine in particular in the treatment of major depressive disorder no principally new antidepressant treatment strategy has been established in clinical routine in the last fifty years. However, regarding the considerable issue of treatment resistance in depression, new therapeutic strategies are urgently required. In this context, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation above the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex has been proposed as a potential new treatment option for depression; furthermore, in October 2008 a first rTMS-device (NeuroStar TMS Therapy System) was approved by the FDA for the treatment of treatment resistant major refractory depression in adults. Yet, despite now nearly two decades of research in this field, no final answer concerning its validity for antidepressant treatment in the clinical practice is given. Numerous studies with small sample sizes and heterogeneous designs have been performed in this field yielding to different results. These were subjected to meta-analyses, assessing the antidepressant effect of rTMS, which are briefly summarized in this article. Further, multicentre-trials with larger numbers of patients were performed, which are presented and critically discussed here in more detail. This short review shall thus provide an overview of the current status of knowledge concerning rTMS in depression and it also provides some recommendations for future research in this field.


C Schönfeldt-Lecuona, L Cárdenas-Morales, R W Freudenmann, T Kammer, U Herwig. Transcranial magnetic stimulation in depression--lessons from the multicentre trials. Restorative neurology and neuroscience. 2010;28(4):569-76

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PMID: 20714079

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