Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a promising emerging treatment for anorexia nervosa (AN). However, to date, patients’ views and experiences of this treatment have not been fully explored. To assess these, we integrated a qualitative study into a feasibility randomised controlled trial of rTMS in individuals with severe enduring AN.
Twenty-nine (of 34) trial participants contributed to this study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted 3-months following the completion of rTMS treatment (4-months post-randomisation), prior to unblinding. Transcripts were analysed using content analysis.
rTMS was deemed an acceptable but time-consuming treatment. Many emphasised how their lives had changed to some extent during, but mainly after treatment by making them more positive, open-minded, flexible and willing to try new things in relation to their AN and other aspects of their lives.
These qualitative data will be valuable in shaping participant information, recruitment and planning of future large-scale trials of rTMS in AN.
ISRCTN14329415, registered 23rd July 2015, https://www.isrctn.com/holding