A New Treatment Option for Major Depressive Disorder?

February 13, 2013
neurons

Patients with major depressive disorder show improvement when treated with a combination of transcranial direct current stimulation and sertraline, according to a double-blind, controlled trial published in the online February 6 JAMA Psychiatry.

Andre R. Brunoni, MD, PhD, of the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and colleagues assessed 120 patients who had severe, nonpsychotic, unipolar major depressive disorder and were not taking antidepressants. Patients received 50 mg/d of sertraline hydrochloride and six weeks of treatment with prefrontal transcranial direct stimulation, an experimental type of neurostimulation in which a low level of electrical current is delivered to the brain via electrodes on the scalp.

At the six-week endpoint of the trial, researchers assessed changes on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating score, with a change of at least three points considered clinically relevant.

They found that patients receiving the combined treatment of transcranial direct current stimulation and sertraline showed more improvement than patients treated with only sertraline, only transcranial direct current stimulation, or placebo and sham transcranial direct current stimulation.

“In major depressive disorder, the combination of transcranial direct current stimulation and sertraline increases the efficacy of each treatment. The efficacy and safety of transcranial direct current stimulation and sertraline did not differ,” the investigators concluded.

 

—Lauren LeBano

 

Reference

1. Brunoni AR, Valiengo L, Baccaro BA, et al. The sertraline vs electrical current therapy for treating depression clinical study. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013  Feb 6;[Epub ahead of print].