Electrical Current Therapy vs. Drug Therapy

Feb 8, 2013
Study Compares Electrical Current Therapy vs. Drug for Major Depressive Disorder
In a clinical trial, Andre R. Brunoni, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and colleagues examined the safety and efficacy of electrical current therapy vs. treatment with sertraline hydrochloride for major depressive disorder (MDD) (Online First).

The double-blind trial in an academic setting included 120 antidepressant-free patients with moderate to severe, nonpsychotic, unipolar MDD. Patients were divided into groups to sertraline/placebo and active/sham transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).

The primary outcome measure was a change in a depression rating scale score at six weeks and a difference of three points was considered to be clinically relevant, according to the study background.

There was a significant difference in the depression rating scale score when comparing the combined treatment group (sertraline/active tDCS) vs. sertraline only (mean difference 8.5 points); tDCS only (mean difference, 5.9 points); and placebo/sham tDCS (mean difference 11.5 points), according to the study results.

“In MDD, the combination of tDCS and sertraline increases the efficacy of each treatment. The efficacy and safety of tDCS and sertraline did not differ,” the study concludes

JAMA Psychiatry. Published online February 6, 2013. doi:10.1001/2013.jamapsychiatry.32.