Clinical Off-Label Use of Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Psychiatric Conditions

Brandon J. Cornejo*, Holly McCready, Sarah Rabin, Shannon Boyce, Laura Dennis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of review:
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a noninvasive neuromodulation approach to psychiatric treatment that is FDA approved for the management of major depressive disorder (MDD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Standard TMS appears to exert biological effects by inducing current in the cortex more shallowly than deep TMS (dTMS); it may be that this modality of treatment differs from standard TMS. Given the potential difference in the manner in which dTMS stimulates the targeted brain regions, it is reasonable to review and summarize the various off-label and experimental applications of this variation of TMS.

Recent findings:
Deep TMS has demonstrated promise in treating mood disorders including bipolar depression and PTSD, but it is clear that more work is needed to clarify the utility of dTMS compared with rTMS. Future work may help delineate the role dTMS plays in addressing a wide spectrum of psychiatric illnesses. In addition, direct fundamental work is needed to characterize any effectiveness of dTMS in schizophrenia, anxiety, and autism spectrum disorder.

Overall, neuromodulation holds promise for treating a variety of psychiatric conditions but more extensive works aimed at understanding the mechanisms and applicability are sorely needed. Continued efforts in understanding the unique application of dTMS may pave the way for future methodologies that could enhance treatment options for both mood and thought disorder.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-588
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Psychiatry
Issue number4
Early online date8 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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