Treating Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms With Low Amplitude Seizure Therapy (LAP-ST) Compared With Standard Right Unilateral Electroconvulsive Therapy: A Pilot Double-Blinded Randomized Clinical Trial

Nagy A. Youssef, Sadiya Dhanani, Peter B. Rosenquist, Laryssa McCloud, William V. McCall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: An important barrier to further studying electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the cognitive adverse effects. However, recent data suggest that low amplitude seizure therapy (LAP-ST) has no or minimal cognitive adverse effects. The aims of this report were to examine the efficacy of LAP-ST in PTSD and to compare LAP-ST with standard right unilateral (RUL) ECT using a pilot randomized clinical trial. METHODS: Patients were randomized to LAP-ST or RUL ECT. Posttraumatic stress disorder was assessed using clinical interview based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, and symptom severity with PTSD Checklist (PCL). The scores pertaining to PCL were analyzed using descriptive analysis for this pilot study. RESULTS: Eleven patients consented to be enrolled. Seven were randomly allocated to LAP-ST or RUL ECT. Five completed the study and had completed PCL before and after the course. In both groups, PTSD symptoms showed fast improvement. The effect size of improvement seems promising. The mean baseline PCL score for patients in the LAP-ST group was 42.5 (SD = 16.26) and the mean end point PCL score after treatment was 31 (SD = 15.56). The mean baseline PCL score for patients in the standard RUL ECT group was 64.7 (SD = 1.15) and the mean end point was 41 (SD = 15.62). CONCLUSIONS: Both LAP-ST and standard RUL ECT showed reduction in PTSD symptoms with fast improvement. This first PTSD LAP-ST study adds support to the prior LAP-ST proof-of-concept clinical trial that LAP-ST can produce effective therapeutic outcomes. Replication of this trial is warranted in larger clinical trials (ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT02583490).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-295
Number of pages5
JournalThe journal of ECT
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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