Effectiveness and pattern of use of continuation and maintenance electroconvulsive therapy

Salut Mental Parc Taulí, Corporació Sanitària Universitària Parc Taulí, Sabadell. Institut Universitari Parc Taulí - UAB, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Barcelona, España. Electronic address: .
Revista de Psiquiatría Biológica y Salud Mental (Impact Factor: 1.62). 10/2012; 5(4):241-253. DOI: 10.1016/j.rpsmen.2012.06.003
Source: PubMed


Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who require an acute course of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) have high relapse rates. Therefore, an effective maintenance treatment strategy needs to be established. Continuation and maintenance ECT (C/M-ECT) could be an adequate treatment option, although the lack of controlled studies has led to its usefulness being questioned. This review includes a detailed description of studies on the effectiveness/efficacy of ECT in MDD. Despite their methodological limitations, the results appear to support the idea that C/M-ECT would be a safe and effective alternative, especially in patients with severe and recurrent disease. Nevertheless, more controlled studies are needed to provide new evidence and allow a more accurate assessment of the efficacy, safety and pattern of use of C/M-ECT.

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