Add-on deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS) for the treatment of chronic migraine: A preliminary study

Chiara Rapinesi, Antonio Del Casale, Paola Scatena, Georgios D. Kotzalidis, Simone Di Pietro, Vittoria Rachele Ferri, Francesco Saverio Bersani, Roberto Brugnoli, Ruggero Nessim Raccah, Abraham Zangen, Stefano Ferracuti, Francesco Orzi, Paolo Girardi, Giuliano Sette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Introduction Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS) can be an alternative treatment to relieve pain in chronic migraine (CM). The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of high-frequency dTMS in add-on to standard treatment for CM in patients not responding to effective abortive or preventive drug treatment. Methods We randomized 14 patients with International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd Edition (ICHD-3) treatment-resistant CM to add-on dTMS (n = 7) or standard abortive or preventive antimigraine treatment (n = 7). Three sessions of alternate day 10 Hz dTMS consisting of 600 pulses in 10 trains were delivered to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), bilaterally, but with left hemisphere prevalence, for 12 sessions spread over one month. Results The add-on dTMS treatment was well tolerated. Patients treated with dTMS showed significant reduction of pain intensity, frequency of attacks, analgesic overuse, and depressive symptoms during treatment and one month later, compared to the month preceding treatment and at the same time-points compared to the control group. Conclusions As compared to standard pharmacological treatment alone, add-on high-frequency dTMS of the bilateral DLPFC reduced the frequency and intensity of migraine attack, drug overuse, and depressive symptoms. This study supports the add-on dTMS treatment in treatment-resistant CM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-12
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - 3 Jun 2016


  • Chronic migraine
  • Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS)
  • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC)
  • Treatment-resistant migraine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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