Ten sessions of adjunctive left prefrontal rTMS significantly reduces fibromyalgia pain: A randomized, controlled pilot study

Brain Stimulation Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, 67 President St., PO Box 250861, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.
Pain (Impact Factor: 5.64). 07/2011; 152(11):2477-84. DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2011.05.033
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the prefrontal cortex can cause changes in acute pain perception. Several weeks of daily left prefrontal TMS has been shown to treat depression. We recruited 20 patients with fibromyalgia, defined by American College of Rheumatology criteria, and randomized them to receive 4000 pulses at 10 Hz TMS (n=10), or sham TMS (n=10) treatment for 10 sessions over 2 weeks along with their standard medications, which were fixed and stable for at least 4 weeks before starting sessions. Subjects recorded daily pain, mood, and activity. Blinded raters assessed pain, mood, functional status, and tender points weekly with the Brief Pain Inventory, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, and Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire. No statistically significant differences between groups were observed. Patients who received active TMS had a mean 29% (statistically significant) reduction in pain symptoms in comparison to their baseline pain. Sham TMS participants had a 4% nonsignificant change in daily pain from their baseline pain. At 2 weeks after treatment, there was a significant improvement in depression symptoms in the active group compared to baseline. Pain reduction preceded antidepressant effects. TMS was well tolerated, with few side effects. Further studies that address study limitations are needed to determine whether daily prefrontal TMS may be an effective, durable, and clinically useful treatment for fibromyalgia symptoms.

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