Effect of Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation for the Treatment of Chronic Insomnia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Parallel-Group, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial

Hong Xing Wang, Li Wang, Wen Rui Zhang, Qing Xue, Mao Peng, Zhi Chao Sun, Li Ping Li, Kun Wang, Xiao Tong Yang, Yu Jia, Qi Lin Zhou, Zhe Xue Xu, Ning Li, Kai Dong, Qian Zhang, Hai Qing Song, Shu Qin Zhan, Bao Quan Min, Chun Qiu Fan, Ai Hong ZhouXiu Hua Guo, Hai Bin Li, Li Rong Liang, Lu Yin, Tian Mei Si, Jing Huang, Tian Yi Yan, Fiammetta Cosci, Atsushi Kamiya, Jie Lu, Yu Ping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Not all adults with chronic insomnia respond to the recommended therapeutic options of cognitive behavioral therapy and approved hypnotic drugs. Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) may offer a novel potential treatment modality for insomnia. Objectives: This study aimed to examine the efficacy and safety of tACS for treating adult patients with chronic insomnia. Methods: Sixty-two participants with chronic primary insomnia received 20 daily 40-min, 77.5-Hz, 15-mA sessions of active or sham tACS targeting the forehead and both mastoid areas in the laboratory on weekdays for 4 consecutive weeks, followed by a 4-week follow-up period. The primary outcome was response rate measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) at week 8. Secondary outcomes were remission rate, insomnia severity, sleep onset latency (SOL), total sleep time (TST), sleep efficiency, sleep quality, daily disturbances, and adverse events at the end of the 4-week intervention and at the 4-week follow-up. Results: Of 62 randomized patients, 60 completed the trial. During the 4-week intervention, 1 subject per group withdrew due to loss of interest and time restriction, respectively. Based on PSQI, at 4-week follow-up, the active group had a higher response rate compared to the sham group (53.4% [16/30] vs. 16.7% [5/30], p = 0.009), but remission rates were not different between groups. At the end of the 4-week intervention, the active group had higher response and remission rates than the sham group (p < 0.001 and p = 0.026, respectively). During the trial, compared with the sham group, the active group showed a statistically significant decrease in PSQI total score, a shortened SOL, an increased TST, improved sleep efficiency, and improved sleep quality (p < 0.05 or p < 0.001). Post hoc analysis revealed that, in comparison with the sham group, the active group had improved symptoms, except for daily disturbances, at the end of the 4-week intervention, and significant improvements in all symptoms at the 4-week follow-up. No adverse events or serious adverse responses occurred during the study. Conclusion: The findings show that the tACS applied in the present study has potential as an effective and safe intervention for chronic insomnia within 8 weeks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-47
Number of pages10
JournalPsychotherapy and psychosomatics
Volume89
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • Efficacy
  • Insomnia
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Transcranial alternating current stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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    Wang, H. X., Wang, L., Zhang, W. R., Xue, Q., Peng, M., Sun, Z. C., Li, L. P., Wang, K., Yang, X. T., Jia, Y., Zhou, Q. L., Xu, Z. X., Li, N., Dong, K., Zhang, Q., Song, H. Q., Zhan, S. Q., Min, B. Q., Fan, C. Q., ... Wang, Y. P. (2020). Effect of Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation for the Treatment of Chronic Insomnia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Parallel-Group, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics, 89(1), 38-47. https://doi.org/10.1159/000504609