Parsing the antidepressant effects of non-invasive brain stimulation and pharmacotherapy:

Goerigk et al, 2021. Brain Stimulation.

  • Randomized clinical study with antidepressant-free, clinically depressed patients to receive 22 bifrontal tDCS (2 mA, 30 min) sessions, escitalopram 20 mg/day, or placebo over 10 weeks.
  • Agglomerative hierarchical clustering identified “sleep/insomnia”, “core depressive”, “guilt/anxiety”, and “atypical” clusters that were the dependent measure.
  • Active treatments were both superior to placebo in core depressive but not atypical symptoms.
  • Escitalopram but not tDCS was superior to placebo in improving guilt/anxiety symptoms.
  • TDCS but not escitalopram was superior to placebo in improving sleep/insomnia symptoms.


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