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Synchronised transcranial magnetic stimulation for substance use-disordered Veterans: protocol for the pilot sham-controlled acceptability trial

HumanInsight Synchronised transcranial magnetic stimulation for substance use-disordered Veterans: protocol for the pilot sham-controlled acceptability trial

BMJ Open. 2023 Jan 30;13(1):e066175. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-066175.


INTRODUCTION: Substance use disorders (SUDs) take an enormous toll on US Veterans and civilians alike. Existing empirically supported interventions vary by substance and demonstrate only moderate efficacy. Non-invasive brain stimulation represents an innovative treatment for SUDs, yet aspects of traditional neurostimulation may hinder its implementation in SUD populations. Synchronised transcranial magnetic stimulation (sTMS) uses rotating rare earth magnets to deliver low-field stimulation synchronised to an individual's alpha peak frequency that is safe for at-home administration. The current trial aims to assess the acceptability and feasibility of sTMS, as well as the safety of at-home sTMS administration for substance-disordered Veterans.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Sixty Veterans in substance treatment at the Providence Veterans Affairs will be randomised to receive 6 weeks of active or sham sTMS treatment. Eligibility will be confirmed by meeting Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition criteria for an alcohol, cocaine or opioid use disorder. Daily supervised sTMS treatment will occur either in clinic or at home through video monitoring. Clinical and self-report assessments will be completed at baseline, end of treatment and 1-month follow-up. Urine drug screening will occur once per week during the treatment phase. Primary outcomes include treatment adherence/retention and satisfaction to evaluate sTMS feasibility and acceptability in Veterans with SUDs. The safety of at-home sTMS administration will be assessed via adverse event monitoring.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The sTMS device received a significant risk determination for at-home use by the Food and Drug Administration in July 2021. Ethics approval was obtained in August 2021 from the Providence Veterans Affairs institutional review board and research and development committee. Data collection began in September 2021 and is planned to continue through December 2023. Findings will be disseminated at national conferences and in peer-reviewed journals. Results will serve to inform the development of large-scale clinical trials of sTMS efficacy for substance-disordered Veterans.


PMID:36717148 | DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2022-066175

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