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Bilateral Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of the Prefrontal Cortex Reduces Cocaine Intake: A Pilot Study

  • Autori: Bolloni, C.; Panella, R.; Pedetti, M.; Frascella, A.; Gambelunghe, C.; Piccoli, T.; Maniaci, G.; Brancato, A.; Cannizzaro, C.; Diana, M.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2016
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


Background: Chronic cocaine consumption is associated with a decrease in mesolim- bic dopamine transmission that maintains drug intake. transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is gaining reliability, a useful therapeutic tool in drug addiction, since it can modu- late cortico-limbic activity resulting in reduction of drug craving. Aims: In the present study, we investigated the therapeutic effect of bilateral TMS of prefrontal cortex (PFC) in reducing cocaine intake, in a sample of treatment-seeking patients with current cocaine use disorder (DSM-V). Methods: Ten cocaine addicts (DSM-V) were randomly assigned to the active or sham stimulation protocol in a double-blind experimental design. Twelve repetitive TMS (rTMS) sessions were administered three times a week for 4 weeks at 100% of motor threshold, over bilateral PFC. Cocaine intake (ng/mg) was assessed by hair analysis at baseline (before treatment, T0), after 1 month (end of treatment, T1), 3 (T2), and 6 (T3) months later. All subjects received psychological support weekly. Results: The two-way ANOVA for repeated measures did not show a signi cant effect of the interaction between time and treatment (F4,32 = 0.35; p = 0.87). Despite that result indicated no difference in the effect of the two conditions (active vs. sham) along time, a decreasing trend in cocaine consumption in active TMS group (F3,23 = 3.42; p = 0.04) vs. sham (F3,15 = 1.88; p = 0.20) was observed when we performed exploratory analysis with time as factor. Indeed, Post hoc comparisons showed a signi cant reduction in the amount of cocaine detected from the onset to 3 months later (T0–T2; p = 0.02) and to the end of treatment (T0–T3; p = 0.01) in addicts from the active group. Conclusion: Bilateral rTMS of PFC at 10 Hz did not show a signi cant effect on cocaine intake compared to sham. However, a long-term reduction on cocaine intake in active TMS-treated patients was observed when we considered the time as factor. Further studies are required to con rm these encouraging but preliminary ndings, in order to consolidate rTMS as a valid tool to treat cocaine addiction.