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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 41 (1999) 3, 143 - 149

Review article

Continuation and maintenance electroconvulsive therapy

A.C.M. Vergouwen

The results of continuation/maintenance psychopharmacotherapy after an acute course of ect, given for treatment-refractory depressive disorders, seems to be unsatisfactory. This literature-search tries to find what is known about the efficacy of continuation/maintenance-ect, especially for treatment-refractory depressive disorders. The studies found had many complicating methodological issues. Definite conclusions about the efficacy of this treatment modality are not possible. The results are nevertheless encouraging. What is needed is a series of well-designed prospective randomized clinical trials which will determine the efficacy of continuation/maintenance-ect. Comparison with rigorous treatment with psychopharmacotherapy is necessary. Other issues that need to be answered are formulated. Recommendations that follow from clinical experience are given.

keywords continuation treatment, depressive disorder, electroconvulsive therapy, maintenance treatment