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Pilot Study Supports Use of TMS for Chronic Insomnia

May 22, 2017

SAN DIEGO—A small pilot study presented at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting Monday suggests bifrontal transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) may be an effective treatment for chronic insomnia.

Researchers conducting the prospective, open-label study hypothesized that “low-frequency TMS exerts an inhibitory effect on hyperexcitable cortical state in patients with chronic insomnia and therefore is therapeutic.”

Patients between the ages of 21 and 65 years of age who meet DSM-IV criteria for primary insomnia are being studied, according to the abstract presented at a poster session.

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Three men and 3 women, with a mean age of 44 years, have completed the study. Their mean change in sleep duration on actigraphy was 1 hour. The mean change in insomnia severity index (ISI) scores was 15%, and the mean change in sleep efficiency was 10%. 

Exclusion criteria included comorbid depression, substance abuse or psychotropic medication changes in the previous 2 weeks, major medical or psychiatric disorders that could cause or contribute to insomnia, and having ferromagnetic material in the head or within 30 cm of the coil.

The poster presenter was Khurshid Khurshid, MD, and study co-author was Richard Holbert, MD.

—Terri Airov

Reference

“A New Approach to Treatment of Insomnia With Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).” Abstract presented at: the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting; May 22, 2017; San Diego, CA.

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