The double-blind sham-controlled study of high-frequency rTMS (20 Hz) for negative symptoms in schizophrenia: negative results.

: The high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (HF-rTMS) over the prefrontal cortex is a promising method for the treatment of negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Using double-blind sham-controlled parallel design, we evaluated the effect of HF-rTMS over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) on negative symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. Sixteen schizophrenia patients with predominantly negative symptoms on stable antipsychotic medication were treated with 20 Hz rTMS (90% of motor threshold, 2000 stimuli per session) over ten days within 2 weeks with six weeks follow-up. The effect was assessed using PANSS, CGI, MADRS and neuropsychological tests. We failed to find any significant effect of active rTMS. Sham rTMS showed a trend for improvement over time on positive and negative subscales of PANSS and MADRS. Between-group comparisons failed to reveal any significant differences on any rating scales except a positive subscale of PANSS after 8 weeks. Results from our study did not confirm that HF-rTMS over the left DLPCF affects the negative symptoms of schizophrenia and alternative rTMS approaches are discussed.