Transcranial Random Noise Stimulation for the Acute Treatment of Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology / official scientific journal of the Collegium Internationale Neuropsychopharmacologicum (CINP)
BACKGROUND: Transcranial electrical stimulation has broad potential as a treatment for depression. Transcranial random noise stimulation, which delivers randomly fluctuating current intensities, may have greater cortical excitatory effects compared with other forms of transcranial electrical stimulation. We therefore aimed to investigate the antidepressant efficacy of transcranial random noise stimulation.
METHODS: Depressed participants were randomly assigned by computer number generator to receive 20 sessions of either active or sham transcranial random noise stimulation over 4 weeks in a double-blinded, parallel group randomized-controlled trial. Transcranial random noise stimulation was delivered for 30 minutes with a direct current offset of 2 mA and a random noise range of 2 mA. Primary analyses assessed changes in depression severity using the Montgomery-Asperg Depression Rating Scale. Neuroplasticity, neuropsychological, and safety outcomes were analyzed as secondary measures.
RESULTS: Sixty-nine participants were randomized, of which 3 discontinued treatment early, leaving 66 (sham n = 34, active n = 32) for per-protocol analysis. Depression severity scores reduced in both groups (Montgomery-Asperg Depression Rating Scale reduction in sham = 7.0 [95% CI = 5.0-8.9]; and active = 5.2 [95% CI = 3.2-7.3]). However, there were no differences between active and sham groups in the reduction of depressive symptoms or the number of participants meeting response (sham = 14.7%; active = 3.1%) and remission criteria (sham = 5.9%; active = 0%). Erythema, paresthesia, fatigue, and dizziness/light-headedness occurred more frequently in the active transcranial random noise stimulation group. Neuroplasticity, neuropsychological, and acute cognitive effects were comparable between groups.
CONCLUSION: Our results do not support the use of transcranial random noise stimulation with the current stimulation parameters as a therapeutic intervention for the treatment of depression.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION AT CLINICALTRIALS: gov/NCT01792414.
Nikolin S, Alonzo A, Martin D, Gálvez V, Buten S, Taylor R, Goldstein J, Oxley C, Hadzi-Pavlovic D, Loo CK. Transcranial Random Noise Stimulation for the Acute Treatment of Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2020 Apr 21;23(3):146-156. doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyz072. PMID: 31899509; PMCID: PMC7171931.