Combined valproate or carbamazepine and electroconvulsive therapy.
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This pharmacoepidemiological study was undertaken to determine if the combination of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and the anticonvulsants valproate (VPA) or carbamazepine (CBZ) is safe and efficacious. The charts of seven patients receiving ECT and VPA or CBZ (ECT-anticonvulsant group) concurrently between May 8, 1989, and May 9, 1993, were reviewed to determine the indication for each treatment, the number and type of ECT treatments, the seizure duration, adverse events, and the efficacy of the combination. The ECT-anticonvulsant group was compared to patients not treated with anticonvulsants (ECT-alone group) to determine if there were any differences in the two groups. Three patients had a marked clinical improvement, two a moderate response, one a minimal response, and one no response. The ECT-AC group, compared to the control group, had a shorter duration of seizures when unilateral treatments were used. However, there were no differences in the other variables compared. One patient had moderate confusion, and the other mild confusion and hypomania. This small case series suggests that the combination of ECT and anticonvulsants is safe and may be considered in patients for whom prophylaxis with anticonvulsant drugs is planned. Further controlled studies are needed to confirm our findings.