Background: Although the therapeutic effect of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) on major depressive disorder is widely investigated, there is a gap in literature regarding the possible effects of the medications used for induction of anesthesia in ECT. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first randomized double-blind clinical trial comparing the effect of etomidate and sodium thiopental on the depression symptoms in patients who have received ECT.
Methods: The participants of this study are 60 adult patients with major depressive disorder who were referred for ECT. They were randomly allocated into 1 of the 2 groups. One group received etomidate, and the other group received sodium thiopental, as medication for induction of anesthesia. All the patients received bilateral ECT. The outcomes measures included the Beck Depression Inventory score, seizure duration, and recovery duration after induction of anesthesia.
Results: The sex ratio and mean age were not different between the 2 groups. Linear regression analysis showed that etomidate decreased the depression score more than did sodium thiopental. Seizure duration in all of the sessions in the etomidate group was significantly higher than that of sodium thiopental group.
Conclusions: In conclusion, etomidate may improve major depressive disorder more than sodium thiopental in patients who are receiving ECT.