Deep Brain Stimulation of the Nucleus Accumbens for Treatment-Refractory Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Damiaan Denys, Mariska Mantione, Martijn Figee, Pepijn van den Munckhof, Frank Koerselman, Herman Westenberg, Andries Bosch, Rick Schuurman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

556 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic psychiatric disorder that affects 2% of the general population. Even when the best available treatments are applied, approximately 10% of patients remain severely afflicted and run a long-term deteriorating course of OCD. Objective: To determine whether bilateral deep brain stimulation of the nucleus accumbens is an effective and safe treatment for treatment-refractory OCD. Design: The study consisted of an open 8-month treatment phase, followed by a double-blind crossover phase with randomly assigned 2-week periods of active or sham stimulation, ending with an open 12-month maintenance phase. Setting: Academic research. Patients: Sixteen patients (age range, 18-65 years) with OCD according to DSM-IV criteria meeting stringent criteria for refractoriness to treatment were included in the study. Interventions: Treatment with bilateral deep brain stimulation of the nucleus accurnbens. Main Outcome Measures: Primary efficacy was assessed by score change from baseline on the YaleBrown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS). Responders were defined by a score decrease of at least 35% on the Y-BOCS. Results: In the open phase, the mean (SD) Y-BOCS score decreased by 46%, from 33.7 (3.6) at baseline to 18.0 (11.4) after 8 months (P <.001). Nine of 16 patients were responders, with a mean (SD) Y-BOCS score decrease of 23.7 (7.0), or 72%. In the double-blind, sham-controlled phase (n=14), the mean (SD) Y-BOCS score difference between active and sham stimulation was 8.3 (2.3), or 25% (P =.004). Depression and anxiety decreased significantly. Except for mild forgetfulness and word-finding problems, no permanent adverse events were reported. Conclusion: Bilateral deep brain stimulation of the nucleus accumbens may be an effective and safe treatment for treatment-refractory OCD
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1061-1068
JournalArchives of general psychiatry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Cite this