Background. The efficacy of antidepressant treatment is fair, but the efficacy is considerably lower in patients failing two or more trials underscoring the need for new treatment options. Our´study evaluated the augmenting antidepressant effect of 8-weeks transcranial pulsed electromagnetic field (T-PEMF) therapy in patients with treatment-resistant depression.
Methods. A multicenter 8-week single-arm cohort study conducted by the Danish University Antidepressant Group.
Results. In total, 58 participants (20 men and 38 women) with a moderate to severe depression as part of a depressive disorder according to ICD-10 who fulfilled criteria for treatment resistance were included, with 19 participants being nonresponders to electroconvulsive therapy during the current depressive episode. Fifty-two participants completed the study period. Scores on the Hamilton Depression Scale 17-items version (HAM-D17) decreased significantly from baseline (mean = 20.6, SD 4.0) to endpoint (mean = 12.6, SD 7.1; N= 58). At endpoint, utilizing a Last Observation Carried Forward analysis, 49 and 28% of those participants with, respectively, a
nonchronic current episode (≤2 years; N= 33) and a chronic current episode (>2 years; N= 25) were responders, that is, achieved a reduction of 50% or more on the HAM-D17 scale. At
endpoint, respectively, 30 and 16% obtained remission, defined as HAM-D17≤7. On the Hamilton Scale 6-item version (HAM-D6), respectively, 51 and 16% obtained remission, defined
Conclusions. The findings indicate a potential beneficial role of T-PEMF therapy as an augmentation treatment to ongoing pharmacotherapy in treatment-resistant depression.