Last updated on February 2018

tDCS as an add-on Treatment for Resistant Major Depression in Uni- or Bipolar Patients


Brief description of study

The aim is to investigate the effect of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) applied at the anodal left CDLPF of patients with resistant depression compared to patients treated with conventional therapy. The tDCS is used in add-on drug treatment in resistant depression stabilized for 4 weeks (antidepressant as SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) or SNRIs (Serotonine-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors) for unipolar patients and lithium for bipolar patients). The delay of 4 weeks is a minimum to observe a non-response. Moreover, in term of ethical point of view, it's difficult to wait 6 to 8 weeks to observe the non-response to treatment.

This is a randomized 2-arm parallel, double blind study comparing 2 groups of 60 patients (48 unipolar plus 12 bipolar patients per group. Patients will be selected in the psychiatric department of the University Hospital of different centers and the two groups are matched for age (+/- 5 years), gender and depression diagnosis (unipolar vs bipolar).

After giving informed consent, patients will be evaluated by a psychiatrist using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS), Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), the STAI and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and for bipolar patient only, by the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS). The complete assessment takes 50 minutes. A neuropsychologist assessment will be also realized during 20 minutes using the Crossing of Test (COT), the Trail Making Test (TMT), the Isaacs Set Test (IST) and the Cardebat fluency Task.

After locating the left DLPFC, treatment with active tDCS with a current of 2 mA or sham will be directed by 30-minute session. A psychometric assessment will be conducted again at the end of treatment week and 4, 12 and finally 24 weeks after stopping treatment. The neuropsychologist assessment will be conducted again 4 weeks after the end of treatment. Scales of comfort and acceptability will also be proposed to the patient to determine whether any gene is caused by this treatment.

These people will be recruited on a voluntary basis, after notification and consent in the 6 research centers. This study was conducted over a period of 36 months.

This study was supporting by a grant from the French Hospital Program of Clinical Reseach (PHRC N/2011-60-2011-A01074-37)

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT01644747

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