Psychiatric and neuropsychiatric adverse events associated with deep brain stimulation: A meta-analysis of ten years' experience

Brian S. Appleby, Patrick S. Duggan, Alan Regenberg, Peter V. Rabins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, and dystonia. Case reports and case series have reported significant psychiatric side effects in some individuals. The goal of this meta-analysis is to characterize the risks and benefits of DBS and to assess its possible use within the psychiatric setting. A search was conducted on PubMed, EBSCO, and PsycInfo in January 2006 that covered the time period 1 Jan 1996-30 Dec 2005. All identified articles were reviewed and those describing adverse events were further examined with a structured instrument. The initial searches yielded 2667 citations; 808 articles met inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis; 98.2% of studies that specifically assessed motor function reported some level of improvement. Most reported side effects were device or procedure related (e.g., infection and lead fracture). The prevalence of depression was 2-4%, mania 0.9-1.7%, emotional changes 0.1-0.2%, and the prevalence of suicidal ideation/suicide attempt was 0.3-0.7%. The completed suicide rate was 0.16-0.32%. In conclusion, DBS is an effective treatment for Parkinson's disease, dystonia, and essential tremor, and case reports suggest that major depression and OCD may also respond to DBS. Reported rates of depression, cognitive impairment, mania, and behavior change are low, but there is a high rate of suicide in patients treated with DBS, particularly with thalamic and GPi stimulation. Because of the high suicide rate, patients should be prescreened for suicide risk prior to DBS surgery. Additionally, patients should be monitored closely for suicidal behavior post-operatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1722-1728
Number of pages7
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number12
StatePublished - Sep 15 2007


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Neuropsychiatric symptoms
  • Side effects
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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