To review the literature on the concurrent use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and anticonvulsant drugs (AC) and to provide recommendations to guide clinical practice.
A MEDLINE search (1985-2006) was performed, using the terms "electroconvulsive therapy," "anticonvulsants," "epilepsy," "carbamazepine," "gabapentin," "lamotrigine," "topiramate," and "valproate," supplemented by manual searches of guidelines and textbooks on ECT.
To date, no prospective, randomized and controlled trials examining outcome and safety of the AC-ECT combination have been published. Existing data are from case reports on the use of ECT for psychiatric conditions that are simultaneously treated with AC, and from case reports of patients treated with ECT and AC for epilepsy or for psychiatric conditions with comorbid epilepsy. Apart from an occasional difficulty in eliciting seizures, no severe adverse effects or complications are reported.
The literature that is currently available indicates that ECT can be safely and effectively administered to patients treated with various AC. There is, however, no evidence to combine the 2 treatment modalities to augment therapeutic efficacy.