Combined electroconvulsive therapy and clozapine in treatment -resistant schizophrenia

Helen C. Kales, John R. Dequardo, Rajiv Tandon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


1. To assess the efficacy and safety of combining electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and clozapine in patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia, the authors reviewed use of this combination in four treatment-resistant schizophrenic inpatients and one inpatient with schizophrenia who was intolerant of clozapine doses needed to control her psychosis. 2. The combination of clozapine and bilateral ECT was modestly effective in two treatment resistant patients and markedly effective in three patients. There was significant overall improvement in patients' Clinical Global Impression (CGI) and Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scores (p<0.005 and p<0.0004, respectively), however in patients where marked symptomatic improvement was noted, effects were not sustained. 3. One of the patients that showed dramatic yet transient improvement followed by relapses received maintenance ECT but relapsed despite this. 4. The authors saw no adverse effects in connection with the combination of ECT and clozapine. 5. Supplementing clozapine with a course of bilateral ECT appears to be safe and is effective in some patients with refractory schizophrenia, however its beneficial effects may be short-lived. The long-term impact of ECT on the course of schizophrenia in patients incompletely responsive to clozapine is not fully elucidated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-556
Number of pages10
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Clozapine
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Biological Psychiatry


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