Optimal Frequency in Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for the Management of Chronic Pain: A Network Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

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World Neurosurg


OBJECTIVE: Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) has been shown to be effective for pain modulation in a variety of pathological conditions causing neuropathic pain. The purpose of this study is to conduct a network meta-analysis (NMA) of randomized control trials to identify the most optimal frequency required to achieve chronic pain modulation using rTMS.

METHODS: A comprehensive search was conducted in electronic databases to identify randomized controlled trials investigating the efficacy of rTMS for chronic pain management. A total of 24 studies met the inclusion criteria, and a NMA was conducted to identify the most effective rTMS frequency for chronic pain management.

RESULTS: Our analysis revealed that high frequency rTMS (20 Hz) was the most effective frequency for chronic pain modulation. Patients treated with 20 Hz had lower pain levels than those treated at 5 Hz (mean difference [MD] = -3.11 [95% confidence interval {CI}: -5.61 - -0.61], P = 0.032) and control (MD = -1.99 [95% CI: -3.11 - -0.88], P = 0.023). Similarly, treatment with 10 Hz had lower pain levels compared to 5 Hz (MD = -2.56 [95% CI: -5.05 - -0.07], P = 0.045) and control (MD = -1.44 [95% CI: -2.52 - -0.36], P = 0.031). 20 Hz and 10 Hz were not statistically different.

CONCLUSIONS: This NMA suggests that high frequency rTMS (20 Hz) is the most optimal frequency for chronic pain modulation. These findings have important clinical implications and can guide healthcare professionals in selecting the most effective frequency for rTMS treatment in patients with chronic pain.

Medical Subject Headings

Humans; Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation; Chronic Pain; Network Meta-Analysis; Pain Management; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Treatment Outcome

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ePub ahead of print



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