Purpose of Technology: Repetitive high-frequency left transcranial magnetic stimulation (HFL-rTMS) is a noninvasive technique that may serve as an alternative intervention for treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Brief repetitive pulses of magnetic energy are applied to the scalp via a large electromagnetic coil, thereby modulating electrical current in the underlying cortical tissue. The goal of HFL-rTMS is to influence activity in areas of the brain involved in mood regulation, in order to shorten the duration or reduce the severity of depressive episodes. HFL-rTMS may be used to augment current pharmacotherapy or as a primary treatment strategy for medication-free patients.

Rationale: HFL-rTMS is a noninvasive treatment for depression and may be an alternative treatment for patients with TRD. The procedure is associated with minimal side effects, generally does not induce seizures, and can be performed in an outpatient setting.

Relevant Questions:

  • Does HFL-rTMS effectively relieve depression symptoms for patients with TRD?

  • Does HFL-rTMS result in acceptable response and remission rates in patients with TRD?

  • Is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) safe?

  • Have definitive patient selection criteria been established for rTMS for TRD?

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