Effects of continuation electroconvulsive therapy on quality of life in elderly depressed patients: A randomized clinical trial

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We examined whether electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) plus medications (“STABLE + PHARM” group) had superior HRQOL compared with medications alone (“PHARM” group) as continuation strategy after successful acute right unilateral ECT for major depressive disorder (MDD). We hypothesized that scores from the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (SF-36) would be higher during continuation treatment in the “STABLE + PHARM” group versus the “PHARM” group. The overall study design was called “Prolonging Remission in Depressed Elderly” (PRIDE). Remitters to the acute course of ECT were re-consented to enter a 6 month RCT of “STABLE + PHARM” versus “PHARM”. Measures of depressive symptoms and cognitive function were completed by blind raters; SF-36 measurements were patient self-report every 4 weeks. Participants were 120 patients >60 years old. Patients with dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or substance abuse were excluded. The “PHARM” group received venlafaxine and lithium. The “STABLE + PHARM” received the same medications, plus 4 weekly outpatient ECT sessions, with additional ECT session as needed. Participants were mostly female (61.7%) with a mean age of 70.5 ± 7.2 years. “STABLE + PHARM” patients received 4.5 ± 2.5 ECT sessions during Phase 2. “STABLE + PHARM” group had 7 point advantage (3.5–10.4, 95% CI) for Physical Component Score of SF-36 (P < 0.0001), and 8.2 point advantage (4.2–12.2, 95% CI) for Mental Component Score (P < 0.0001). Additional ECT resulted in overall net health benefit. Consideration should be given to administration of additional ECT to prevent relapse during the continuation phase of treatment of MDD. Clinical Trials.gov NCT01028508

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-69
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Feb 2018



  • Continuation therapy
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Quality of life
  • Randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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