Opioid addiction is a growing problem worldwide, with millions of people affected each year. Despite the many treatment options available, including medication-assisted therapy and counseling, relapse rates remain high. Craving, or the strong desire to use opioids, is a significant contributor to relapse. Researchers are continuously searching for new, effective treatments for opioid use disorder (OUD) that can help reduce cravings and improve outcomes.
This clinical trial looked at whether a type of brain therapy called high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) could help reduce the strong desire to use opioids in patients with opioid addiction. The therapy focuses on a specific part of the brain called the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC).
The trial involved 52 male patients who were addicted to opioids. They were randomly divided into two groups, one group received a real treatment while the other group received a fake treatment. Both groups received 18 sessions of brain therapy called rTMS.
To check if the therapy worked, the researchers used two questionnaires to measure the level of craving in the patients. The patients were tested during a time when they were just starting to quit using opioids and when they were most likely to experience intense cravings. The researchers wanted to see if there was a significant difference in the level of cravings between the two groups.
The study found that patients who received real brain therapy showed a significant reduction in their cravings for opioids compared to those who received fake therapy. The researchers used two questionnaires to measure the level of cravings in the patients. They found that the patients who received the real therapy had a much lower level of cravings compared to those who received the sham therapy. This is good news because it suggests that rTMS might be an effective way to help people with opioid addiction. The study also found a link between the number of times patients were admitted to the hospital and their level of cravings after the therapy.
The trial's findings suggest that high-frequency rTMS over the left DLPFC for 18 treatment sessions can reduce opioid craving in patients with OUD during early abstinence. However, further research is necessary to validate the study's results and to determine the long-term efficacy of rTMS as a treatment option for OUD.
This clinical trial shows promising results for the use of rTMS in reducing opioid craving in patients with OUD. As further research is conducted, rTMS may become a valuable treatment option for those struggling with opioid addiction. The findings of this study highlight the importance of continued research into the development of effective treatments for substance use disorders.