A Systematic Review of the Efficacy of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois 60305, USA

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is an alternative treatment option for drug-resistant mental illnesses, such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). More recent clinical trials have investigated whether rTMS can also be used in the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). To synthesize current evidence on the use of rTMS to treat PTSD, a qualitative systematic review was carried out. This review focused on clinical trials that featured both a comparison group and distinct scales to separate PTSD symptoms from any comorbid illnesses. Presently, rTMS seems to be a relatively safe treatment for PTSD, however, it is likely no more effective than current treatments. Additionally, missing clinical trial data casts doubt on whether the present literature is representative of the true effect of rTMS on PTSD. Based on these conclusions, rTMS does not seem a suitable replacement for more popular treatments. However, rTMS is a relatively affordable and noninvasive treatment option, and may be worth continued investigation as an option for those with drug-resistant PTSD, in particular.

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