Sheffer, C. E., Bickel, W. K., Brandon, T. H., Franck, C. T., Deen, D., Panissidi, L., … & Malhotra, R. (2018). Preventing relapse to smoking with transcranial magnetic stimulation: Feasibility and potential efficacy. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 182, 8-18.
In this randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled study the authors investigated whether 8 sessions of high-frequency (20Hz) rTMS over the left DLPFC could aid smoking cessation in moderately dependent smokers (5-20 cigarettes a day). It was proposed that increasing activity in the left DLPFC may support impulse control and reduce excessive activity in the medial forebrain reward system, which is associated with addiction. Over two weeks, participants received 8 sessions of active rTMS (n = 16) or sham (n = 13) combined with evidence-based self-help materials, and additional follow-up at 4, 8, and 12 weeks. Compared to sham, active rTMS was associated with delayed relapse and higher levels of abstinence, although the latter was also correlated with measures of nicotine dependence. Further, active rTMS was associated with significant improvements in impulse control measures (a ‘delayed discounting’ task), which is associated with higher rates of abstinence success. During the study 69% of participants attended 8 sessions of treatment, which is above the 45% threshold for feasibility of treatment, and side-effects were infrequent and tolerable (e.g. transient headache).
*For original abstract/publication see the link below.