Catatonia, associated with a variety of medical and psychiatric conditions such as mood disorders and schizophrenia, is frequently treated with either benzodiazepines or with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in treatment-resistant cases. Simultaneous treatment with both is usually avoided. Here, we report a case of the use of the benzodiazepine antagonist flumazenil before ECT to facilitate the simultaneous use of lorazepam and ECT for the treatment of co-occurring catatonia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Both catatonia and obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms improved in the patient. Physicians should be aware of flumazenil as a clinical tool for use in treatment-resistant cases.
From the *Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, and †Department of Psychiatry, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA.
Received for publication January 31, 2012; accepted March 8, 2012.
Reprints: Michael Makhinson, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, 1000 West Carson St, Box 8, Torrance, CA 90509 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The authors have no conflicts of interest or financial disclosures to report.