Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation over the orbitofrontal cortex for obsessive-compulsive disorder: a double-blind, crossover study

C Nauczyciel, F Le Jeune, F Naudet, S Douabin, A Esquevin, M Vérin, T Dondaine, G Robert, D Drapier, B Millet
Translational Psychiatry 2014, 4: e436
This pilot study was designed to assess the efficacy of low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over the right orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) by means of a double-cone coil in patients suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. We hypothesized that low-frequency stimulation of the OFC would lead to a reduction in clinical symptoms, as measured on the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS). A randomized, double-blind, crossover design was implemented with two 1-week treatment periods (active stimulation versus sham stimulation) separated by a 1-month washout period. Concomitantly, a subgroup of patients underwent a positron emission tomography (PET) scan after each stimulation sequence. Statistical analyses compared the Y-BOCS scores at the end of each period. At day 7, we observed a significant decrease from baseline in the Y-BOCS scores, after both active (P<0.01) and sham stimulation (P=0.02). This decrease tended to be larger after active stimulation than after sham stimulation: -6 (-29, 0) points versus -2 (-20, 4) points (P=0.07). Active versus sham PET scan contrasts showed that stimulation was related to a bilateral decrease in the metabolism of the OFC. The OFC should definitely be regarded as a key neuroanatomical target for rTMS, as it is easier to reach than either the striatum or the subthalamic nucleus, structures favored in neurosurgical approaches.

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