Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) – Review of the Evidence and Summary of The RANZCP Guidelines

Posted on:February 5, 2020
Last Updated: June 3, 2022
Time to read: 16–19 minutes

Depression affects up to 350 million people around the world, but response rates to a first-line antidepressant can be as low as 50%. [WHO, 2015]

The Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) trial showed [Rush A et al., 2006]:

With persistent and vigorous treatment, most patients will enter remission: about 33% after one step, 50% after two steps, 60% after three steps, and 70% after four steps (assuming patients stay in treatment)

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an effective therapeutic option for treatment-resistant depression (TRD). [Paganin D et al., 2004]

In this article, we summarise the recently published RANZCP guidelines which provide the most up to date guidance on ECT. [Weiss A et al., 2019]


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