University Of Tasmania

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A happiness magnet? Reviewing the evidence for repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in major depressive disorder

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 18:10 authored by Pridmore, W, Saxby PridmoreSaxby Pridmore

Objectives: First, to conduct a historical review of the evidence for repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for major depressive disorder and determine a clinical algorithm. Second, to identify opportunities for research.

Methods: Literature searches were conducted of the MEDLINE database, UpToDate and the Australian National University Library SuperSearch from 1 January 2000 to 30 September 2019. The search terms used were ‘transcranial magnetic stimulation’, ‘major depressive disorder’ and ‘depression’.

Results: There were 24 meta-analyses identified, demonstrating a clear clinical effect. Left high-frequency rTMS had the most evidence. Ideal clinical parameters and study design were explored.

Conclusion: Use of rTMS for some patients with depression is justified. Open research questions include the comparative efficacy of right low-frequency and bilateral stimulation, the role of rTMS in medication-naïve patients, and maintenance of effect.


Publication title

Australasian Psychiatry








Tasmanian School of Medicine


Sage Publications Ltd.

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2020 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Mental health