Safety and Efficacy of Theta-Burst Stimulation in the Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders: A Review of the Literature

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Abstract

Theta-burst stimulation (TBS) is a form of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and is thought to induce more rapid and longer-lasting effects on synaptic plasticity than conventional repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation protocols. TBS is being used as an investigational and more recently as a therapeutic tool. The purpose of this review is to describe and discuss the studies that have evaluated the safety and efficacy of this technique in the treatment of various psychiatric disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette's disorder, nicotine and cocaine addiction, and pathological gambling. Studies have reported mild adverse effects but no cases of seizures or mania. Despite the fact that studies were heterogeneous in terms of design and results, some of them are promising mostly for treatment-resistant depression and auditory hallucinations. Future well-designed sham-controlled studies are needed to confirm the long-term safety and efficacy of TBS in the treatment of such conditions.

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