Transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment-resistant depression: Naturalistic treatment outcomes for younger versus older patients

Christine A. Conelea, Noah S. Philip, Agustin G. Yip, Jennifer L. Barnes, Matthew J. Niedzwiecki, Benjamin D. Greenberg, Audrey R. Tyrka, Linda L. Carpenter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been shown to be safe and effective for treatment-resistant depression (TRD) in the general adult population. Efficacy among older (≥60 years) patients, who have a greater burden of cognitive, physical, and functional impairment compared to their younger counterparts, remains unclear. The current study aimed to characterize antidepressant response to an acute course of TMS therapy among patients aged ≥60 years compared to those <60 years in naturalistic clinical practice settings. Methods Data were retrospectively collected and pooled for adults with TRD (N =231; n =75 aged ≥60 years and n = 156 <60 years) who underwent an acute course of outpatient TMS therapy at two outpatient clinics. Self-report depression scales were administered at baseline and end of acute treatment. Change on continuous measures and categorical outcomes were compared across older vs. younger patients. Results Both age groups showed significant improvements in depression symptoms. Response and remission rates did not differ between groups. Age group was not a significant predictor of change in depression severity, nor of clinical response or remission, in a model controlling for other predictors (all p>.05). Limitations Limitations include reliance on self-report clinical measures and variability in comorbidity and concurrent pharmacotherapy due to the naturalistic nature of the study. Conclusions Results suggest that effectiveness of TMS for TRD is not differentially modified by age. Based on these naturalistic data, age alone should not be considered a contraindication or poor prognostic indicator of the antidepressant efficacy of TMS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-47
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Depression
  • Geriatric
  • TMS
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation


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