Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
This study examined the concurrent use of psychotropic drugs on seizure duration during Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Consecutive consenting patients prescribed bilateral ECT (n=182) by the treating psychiatrist were considered for the study. The concurrent psychotropic medication (antipsychotic, antidepressant, benzodiazepine and lithium) was recorded. Motor and EEG seizure durations were recorded at threshold ECT session. The seizure durations were compared between the co-administered drug and control groups for each of the psychotropic drug independently using students' t-test. Concurrent antipsychotic or antidepressant drugs had no influence on seizure duration. However, the seizure duration was longer in patients on lithium (n=30) and shorter in patients on benzodiazepines (n=67). Prolonged seizures occurred more often in the former (26.6%) but less often in the later (12%). Polypharmacy in these patients precludes firm conclusions. Findings however, point to the need for discontinuing concurrent administration of lithium and benzodiazepines during ECT.