20 The more clinically relevant studies involve administering rTMS to patients with clinical chronic pain conditions. We identified 24 publications between 2001 and 2013 that assessed efficacy of rTMS for treating chronic pain. Among them,
15 assessed the effects of a single session only of TMS (Table 1). While 12/15 reported pain relief, Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical the effects of a single rTMS session are transitory and therefore inadequate for clinical management of chronic pain, so their relevance for clinical practice is limited. Table 2 summarizes the nine studies that evaluated the effects of multiple rTMS sessions on chronic pain. Four studies used five consecutive days of treatment, and five involved two consecutive weeks of five sessions of weekday TMS. Among them, 6/9 showed significant pain reduction. Importantly, it was found that consecutive
Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical sessions of weekday rTMS extended the effects of a single session of rTMS to produce residual pain relief that can persist even after rTMS is discontinued, which is the cornerstone of clinical benefit.17 Publications report that these residual effects Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical can last up to two weeks, but in clinical use, some patients are able to buy Tenofovir maintain pain relief with once-monthly sessions of rTMS, so this requires better characterization. The mechanisms are not known but presumably involve neuronal plasticity, such as that triggered Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical by other situations involving repeated neuronal firing. Accordingly it is suggested that maintenance therapy, which consists of a priming week or weeks, of daily weekday rTMS sessions, followed by maintenance sessions at longer intervals, will maintain long-lasting effects. To date, only one study of 40 fibromyalgia patients assessed long-term rTMS maintenance therapy.41 Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical The protocol comprised one priming week of daily weekday rTMS, then one session weekly
for 3 weeks, three sessions at fortnightly intervals, followed by three monthly sessions; TMS ended at week 21. Reduced pain intensity and improved quality of life measures were demonstrated between day 5 through week Metalloexopeptidase 25, 4 weeks after the TMS stopped.41 Table 1 Studies Assessing Effects of One Session of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) of the Motor Cortex on Chronic Pain. Table 2 Studies Assessing Effects of Multiple Sessions of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) of the Motor Cortex on Chronic Pain. Since the TMS treatment parameters varied among the published studies it is difficult to determine which specific parameters are best for clinical use. Complicating matters further, only 10 of 24 studies recruited homogeneous populations of patients, precluding certainty about which conditions are most responsive to TMS.