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Pharmacological, experimental therapeutic, and transcranial magnetic stimulation treatments for compulsivity and impulsivity

  • Stefano Pallanti (a1) (a2) (a3) and Eric Hollander (a3)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been recently drawn apart from anxiety disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) and clustered together with related disorders (eg, hoarding, hair pulling disorder, skin picking), which with it seems to share clinical and neurophysiological similarities. Recent literature has mainly explored brain circuitries (eg, orbitofrontal cortex, striatum), molecular pathways, and genes (eg, Hoxb8, Slitrk5, Sapap3) that represent the new target of the treatments; they also lead the development of new probes and compounds. In the therapeutic field, monotherapy with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is recommendable, but combination or augmentation with a dopaminergic or glutamatergic agent is often adopted. A promising therapy for OCD is represented by repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), which is suitable to treat compulsivity and impulsivity depending on the protocol of stimulation and the brain circuitries targeted.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Stefano Pallanti, University of Florence, School of Medicine, 50134, Florence (I); Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY 10029 (US); Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, NY 10461 (US). (Email:
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The authors thank Anna Marras, PhD, for her collaboration in editing this paper.

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