Transcranial direct current stimulation helps treat patients with poststroke depression
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is safe and effective for patients with poststroke depression, making it a favourable treatment option, a recent study has shown.
Researchers randomly assigned 48 antidepressant-free patients with poststroke depression to either active or sham tDCS to evaluate its efficacy and safety. A total of 12 30-minute sessions of 2 mA anodal left/cathodal right dorsolateral prefrontal tDCS were administered over 6 weeks (once daily on weekdays for 2 weeks and 1 session every other week).
A total of five patients dropped out of the trial (two in the active group).
A repeated-measures analysis of variance was employed, with depression score as the dependent variable, and time and group as independent variables. Researchers addressed missing data in this intention-to-treat analysis according to the last observation carried forward and the mixed-model repeated-measures analysis methods.
The primary outcomes was the change in the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale at week 6.
Active tDCS showed significant superiority to sham at endpoint (mean difference, 4.7 points; p<0.001). Patients in the active group had significantly higher response and remission rates (37.5 and 20.8 percent, respectively) than those in the sham group (4.1 and 0 percent, respectively), with a number-needed-to-treat of 3 and 5, respectively.
About one in three patients with stroke experience poststroke depression, which is a disabling condition, according to researchers, adding that pharmacological treatments have limited efficacy and important side effects.