Patterns of Psychotropic Medication Use Among Patients with Severe Depression Referred for Electroconvulsive Therapy.

  • Rasmussen K
  • Mueller M
  • Kellner C
 et al. 
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Most studies of trends in antidepressant pharmacotherapy have focused on relatively mildly ill, nonpyschotic outpatients. In this report, we provide detailed information on psychotropic use among patients with unipolar depression participating in a large, multisite electroconculsive therapy (ECT) study. Adequacy of antidepressant medication trials was assessed with the Antidepressant Treatment History Form. Among patients with nonpsychotic depression, 27% (60/220) had not had an adequate trial of an antidepressant before ECT, and 63% (139/220) had had at least one inadequate trial. Surprisingly, 33% (79/243) of nonpsychotic patients had been prescribed an antipsychotic. Among patients with psychotic depression, 95% (101/106) had not been given an adequate combination of an antidepressant and antipsychotic agent, mostly due to low doses of the latter class. Among all patients in the trial, 61% (213/352) had been prescribed at least one benzodiazepine, and only 7% (24/352) had been given a lithium augmentation trial. Use of hypnotic agents and anticonvulsants was common. In conclusion, patients with severe depression referred for ECT with a unipolar depressive episode have high rates of psychotropic usage, much of which is inadequate. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Author-supplied keywords

  • *Antidepressant Drugs
  • *Drug Therapy
  • *Electroconvulsive Shock Therapy
  • *Major Depression
  • *Psychosis
  • Outpatients

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  • Keith G Rasmussen

  • Martina Mueller

  • Charles H Kellner

  • Rebecca G Knapp

  • George Petrides

  • Teresa A Rummans

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