CNS Drugs

, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 381–387 | Cite as

Amnesia Associated with Electroconvulsive Therapy

Progress in Pharmacological Prevention and Treatment
  • Dean A. Pollina
  • Avraham Calev
Adverse Effects


Pharmacological treatments have been used in an attempt to improve the memory dysfunction induced by electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Despite promising results from animal studies, human studies report few successes. Piracetam and physostigmine have been reported to directly improve memory test scores. The use of caffeine and liothyronine (triiodothyronine; T3) has been reported to reduce the number of ECT treatments required to produce a therapeutic effect, thus indirectly reducing memory deficits. However, the majority of studies on pharmacological treatments report no success.

Some studies suggest that reducing the dosage of medications regularly administered with ECT may reduce memory deficits. However, reducing these medications may not be fruitful as they are necessary to prevent the medical risks associated with ECT. Moreover, at the dosages used during ECT, these medications have not been consistently shown to adversely affect cognition.

At present, better controlled studies are required to assist in the search for effective pharmaceutical agents to reduce the cognitive deficits associated with ECT.


Naloxone Memory Deficit Nimodipine Physostigmine Piracetam 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dean A. Pollina
    • 1
  • Avraham Calev
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Neurology, HSC T12-020State University of New York at Stony BrookStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryState University of New York at Stony BrookStony BrookUSA

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