Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 572-576

Transcranial direct current stimulation for refractory auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia: Acute and 16-week outcomes

1 Department of Psychiatry, KMCT Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
2 Department of Medicine, Government Medical College, Ernamkulam, Kerala, India
3 Department of Psychopharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Pattath Narayanan Suresh Kumar
Anaswara, Vazhathuruthi Road, P.O.Civil Station, Kozhikode - 673 020, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_182_19

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Background: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has demonstrated efficacy against antipsychotic-refractory auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) in schizophrenia. The duration of persistence of benefit is not well characterized. Materials and Methods: Thirty-one adults with schizophrenia and medication-refractory AVH were treated with 2–3 mA tDCS in 30 min sessions, twice a day, 6 days a week, for 2–4 weeks. The anode was sited over F3 and the cathode midway between T3 and P3 in the 10–20 EEG system. Patients were assessed until a 4-month study endpoint using two auditory hallucination rating scales and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS-N). Results: Auditory hallucinations were moderately reduced by tDCS with 25%–29% improvement evident by the end of the 2nd week and another 10% improvement between week 2 and 4 months. There was no loss of benefit at the end of the 4-month study. There was also a small (11%) but statistically significant improvement in PANSS-N scores. Conclusions: Although this study is limited by the nonblind, uncontrolled design, the results suggest that tDCS, as delivered, holds promise for treating refractory AVH in schizophrenia; the benefits persist beyond the short term.



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