ECT augmentation of antipsychotics in severely ill schizophrenia: a naturalistic, observational study

Usta Saglam N. G., AKSOY POYRAZ C., Yalcin M., Balcioglu I.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY IN CLINICAL PRACTICE, vol.24, no.4, pp.392-397, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 24 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/13651501.2020.1777313
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.392-397
  • Keywords: ECT-antipsychotic combination, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), Schizophrenia, severely ill schizophrenia
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Objectives:There is positive evidence to support the role of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the treatment of schizophrenia; however, it is unclear to what extent this growing evidence reflects the actual situation in clinical practice. The aim of this study was to explore the efficacy of ECT augmentation to antipsychotics in individuals with schizophrenia in a naturalistic-observational environment. Methods:Eighty-one patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, hospitalised due to acute psychotic exacerbation were included in the study. We compared changes in Positive and Negative Symptom Rating Scale (PANSS) scores between patients treated only with APs and those in the ECT augmentation group. Results:A statistically significant decrease in symptom severity was observed in all PANSS subscales in both groups. In the ECT group, 95% of the patients (n = 39) responded to treatment compared to 75% of the non-ECT group (n = 30) (chi(2)=6.496, df = 1,p = 0.011). We found that combining ECT with AP significantly increased treatment response, which was defined as at least 25% PANSS symptom reduction, in patients with acute exacerbation of schizophrenia, compared to AP alone. Conclusions:Augmentation of ECT seems to increase responsiveness during acute treatment of severely ill schizophrenia patients. The mean percentage reduction in PANSS scores by 25% following antipsychotic treatment can help identify patients that will benefit from ECT after psychotic relapse in future.