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World J Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Feb;13(2):96-105. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2011.564653. Epub 2011 Apr 12.

Using ECT in schizophrenia: a review from a clinical perspective.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Athens University Medical School, Athens, Greece.



Despite the fact that many studies have addressed the use of ECT in schizophrenia questions on clinical use remain poorly answered and clinical application is largely based on data originating from depressed patients.


We review data on the use of ECT in schizophrenic patients drawn from original studies indicated by a Pubmed search and referenced in recent and older expert reviews with a specific focus on four issues: symptom response, technical application, continuation/maintenance ECT and combination with medication.


Catatonic patients are the most responsive. Positive symptoms such paranoid delusions and affective symptoms follow. There are indications that ECT may improve responsivity to medication. No particular technical features stand out in studies except lengthier courses, but not for catatonia. Combination with medication appears to be preferable over either treatment alone and effective combination particularly with clozapine is supported by data. Use of continuation and maintenance treatments in responders appears beneficial.


Certain schizophrenic patients may benefit significantly from the use of ECT. More specific research is required to address particular questions.

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