[Transcranial direct current stimulation for depression and aphasia. A health technology assessment]
Gaustad J-V, Kleven L, Kornør H, Harboe I, Flatby AV, Aakhus E, Bystad M, Røste I
Record ID 32018002606
Original Title: Transkraniell likestrømsbehandling for depresjon og afasi: fullstendig metodevurdering
Authors' objectives: The objective of this health technology assessment was to investigate the efficacy and safety, and to perform an economic evaluation of tDCS for depression, poststroke aphasia, and primary progressive aphasia.
Authors' results and conclusions: We included 25 trials on tDCS for depression, 27 trials on tDCS for poststroke aphasia, and 2 trials on tDCS for primary progressive aphasia. Effects of tDCS were observed at the end of treatment and were even more prominent after a period of follow-up in both depression and poststroke aphasia. Compared to sham-tDCS, tDCS increased response rates and probably improved depression scores and remission rates for patients with moderate to severe depression at 2-7 weeks follow-up (Summary of findings table). Small or no differences were found between patients given tDCS and patients given antidepressants. Compared to sham-tDCS, tDCS probably improved functional communication and naming of nouns, and may have improved naming of verbs for participants with poststroke aphasia at 1-6 months followup (Summary of findings table). tDCS probably resulted in small or no differences in the proportion of drop-out and serious adverse effects, but mild and transient side effects such as skin redness, tingling, and itching under the electrodes were reported in most of the included trials. The evidence on tDCS for primary progressive aphasia was highly uncertain. A 4-week tDCS treatment for depression costs about 16,000 NOK in a home-based setting, and about 81,000 NOK in an outpatient setting. The costs of home-based tDCS combined with language therapy are about 33,000 NOK for poststroke aphasia and about 31,000 NOK for primary progressive aphasia, in which the additional costs of tDCS are about 15,000 NOK and 12,000 NOK respectively. tDCS combined with language therapy in an outpatient setting costs about 74,000 NOK for poststroke aphasia and about 56,000 NOK for primary progressive aphasia, in which the additional cost of tDCS is about 2500 NOK. The number of tDCS treatments needed each year, is estimated to be 1-2 for depression and 1-4 for aphasia. The evidence on tDCS for depression and poststroke aphasia addresses all the research questions of this health technology assessment. The trials on depression mainly included patients with moderate to severe depression. The treatment-induced effects reported here are therefore valid for this patient group but are not necessarily valid for patients with mild depression. The evidence is also less comprehensive for bipolar than for unipolar depression. However, subgroup analysis did not indicate that patients with these indications differed in the response to tDCS treatment. For poststroke aphasia, most trials combined tDCS with language therapy and we do not know whether tDCS can provide similar effects if applied alone. Nevertheless, one will probably combine tDCS with language therapy also in Norwegian practice. The number of participants in the trials of primary progressive aphasia was too low to detect clinically important differences (low statistical power). Novel studies investigating the effect of tDCS for primary progressive aphasia are therefore warranted. To conduct a cost-analysis, we had to make several assumptions on how tDCS may be applied in a home-based and an outpatient setting. The assumptions were made by consulting clinical experts and suppliers of tDCS devices, but are, despite these efforts, to some degree uncertain. The costs may thus have been both over- and underestimated tDCS treatment probably reduces symptoms of depression in patients with moderate to severe depression. The effect of tDCS is probably not greater than antidepressant effects. tDCS treatment probably reduces language impairment in patients with poststroke aphasia when combined with language therapy. tDCS treatment did not increase the proportion of drop-out and serious adverse effects, but mild and transient side effects must be expected. The evidence on tDCS for primary progressive aphasia is highly uncertain. Based on the current evidence it is impossible to estimate whether tDCS is cost effective, but we have estimated approximate costs based on certain assumptions. The largest costs are those associated with hospital staff, and home-based treatment is thus less expensive than outpatient care.
Authors' methods: We did a simple literature search for systematic reviews, and a systematic search for randomized trials published after the searches in the reviews were conducted. We included one systematic review on tDCS for depression and one on tDCS for poststroke aphasia. The review on tDCS for depression only included trials comparing tDCS with sham-tDCS (placebo). We therefore conducted a separate systematic search for randomized trials comparing tDCS with antidepressants and for studies reporting quality of life and health economic evaluations. All searches were conducted in September - December 2021. The entire group evaluated and selected the most relevant and updated systematic reviews with the highest methodological quality. Two researchers read the titles, abstracts, and full texts of all relevant publications from the systematic searches. One researcher extracted and analyzed data from the included trials, and another verified the data extraction. We made our own judgements of the risk of bias in trials identified in the systematic searches and used the authors judgements in trials that were included from the systematic reviews. The entire group and the clinical experts evaluated ourcertainty of each result using GRADE. We also conducted a cost-analysis of tDCS treatment for depression, poststroke aphasia, and primary progressive aphasia in Norway.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2022
URL for published report: https://www.fhi.no/en/publ/2022/Transcranial-direct-current-stimulation-for-depression-and-aphasia/
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Full HTA
- Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
- Cost-Benefit Analysis
- Stroke Rehabilitation
Organisation Name: Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Contact Address: P.O. Box 222 Skoyen, N-0123, Oslo
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